Music review: House of Love, Room 2, Glasgow

It may be over three decades since their heyday, but The House of Love are still sounding fresh, with a new line-up and a new collection of songs which syncs perfectly with their back catalogue, writes David Pollock

Guy Chadwick of The House of Love PIC: Guillame Souvant / AFP via Getty Images
Guy Chadwick of The House of Love PIC: Guillame Souvant / AFP via Getty Images

The House of Love, Room 2, Glasgow ***

“I'm used to playing stadiums,” grumbled Guy Chadwick jokingly, in reference to the compact nature of the stage he and his four-piece band were playing on, in a darkened basement club underneath the shops of Buchanan Street. He isn’t used to stadiums at all, of course, that’s the joke.

The House of Love have an on-and-off-and-on-again 36-year history as a band, and a sense of determination common to most mid-table indie survivors.

The group clearly fall into that category, and they have a fanbase to match. Their crowd here was around low three-figures, but their enthusiasm for and knowledge of the group’s output was tangible.

Inevitably, much of the interest was in the broad “greatest hits” scope of the show, especially for those songs which actually were hits.

Key among these was Shine On, the group’s first single in 1987, which was the high-point of their chart success when reissued into the baggy-jeaned, loved-up milieu of 1990.

Here it cantered along with power and energy, Chadwick’s deep croon still chiming with a sense of youthful romance.

Their heyday of 30 years ago was also represented by the wistful, shuffling drum patter of Beatles and the Stones, the bittersweet romance of The Girl with the Loneliest Eyes and the pristine indie melancholy of Destroy The Heart, all perfectly preserved and enhanced by the noisy intimacy of the space.

Despite the vintage of their name, though, House of Love are also a very new proposition.

Co-founder Terry Bickers left alongside the rest of the band last year, and Chadwick has enlisted Keith and Harry Osborne on guitars and Hugo Degenhardt on drums to tour this year’s seventh studio album, A State of Grace.

The new songs from it here, including the light indie breeze of Melody Rose and particularly the satisfying guitar wail of the title track, sounded perfectly in sync with the group’s carefully accumulated catalogue of winsome heartbreakers.