The House Of Love’s warmly received 2005 comeback Days Run Away not only reunited frontman Guy Chadwick with his notoriously mercurial lead guitar foil Terry Bickers for the first time in 15 years, but it paraded enough inspiration to suggest future greatness was again lurking around the corner.
Since that second coming petered out, however, the silence has become deafening. Yet it seems The House Of Love were right to respect the old adage about not rushing genius, for the long-awaited She Paints Words In Red turns out to be the Camberwell crew’s finest – and most consistent – platter since 1990’s Fontana album.
Recorded, ironically, in one hectic 10-day session with long-term producer Pat Collier last November, She Paints Words In Red bottles a band on vintage form. The smouldering rocker A Baby Got Back On Its Feet and the chromatic drama of Low Black Clouds weigh in among Chadwick’s moodily erudite best, while Bickers’ lethally elegant guitar sprays silver all over the epically inclined Holy River and the blissful chime of the title track.
Elsewhere, the playfully catchy, Velvets-y cool of Never Again quickly flags up its radio potential, but it’s the delicate, Man To Child-esque ethereality of the ballad Lost In The Blues that provides the refined brush strokes to complete this alluring sonic canvas.