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Pale Blue Eyes – This House Review

House parties are where the magic happens and for Pale Blue Eyes, This House is the one. Thunderous and charming, perfectly balanced as they extend an invitation to listeners, their antics indoors are brought out in dreamy fashion. More is just what you need for an opener. Its title suggests as much as you need. Let Pale Blue Eyes give you more of their vibrant noise, never quite being able to place your finger on what sound they conjure is all part of the experience. Change is in the air and although it may not sound like it under the claps and drum machines, the fades in and out, there is grief circling this sophomore piece from the band. 

It would appear the tragic theme continues without much choice, as it coincides with the death of vocalist Matthew Board’s mum. His father passed at the time of the debut release, and so the marrying of grief in different forms is showcased. A rare and heartbreaking opportunity to put the phases together, and Board does not take this for granted. Innocent but broken tones hang around Simmering. Repetition on Hangout holds firm, a nice little track where synths and sci-fi rabble take control. Vaguely recognisable guitar flickers hold firm too, that feeling of being at home is taken well and blurring it with the distant, fuzzy memories of the past is exactly what This House aims for. Achieving the equilibrium, bringing those thoughts and feelings together, is far tougher than first expected, and the album is all the brighter for it.  

Embracing change as best they can, The House exorcises thoughts and feelings that linger on, strummed away by a collection of neat riffs. With the homely expectations of Heating’s On, there may be some questions raised at the vibrancy, of the spaced-out feel present, on the synths. But Pale Blue Eyes and their desire to shatter those interpretations of a united home are perfectly reasoned and explore the wilder sides of grief. Look no further than Our History, the whining guitar and steady drum kicks into gear and brings out a range similar to the noise rock phase Graham Coxon produced. But those stylish flickers are booted to the kerb and soon the dream-pop failsafe, which Pale Blue Eyes had successfully ignored and avoided, come striking through on Million Times Over. 

Where it may be a shock to the system, This House recovers from this stutter of generic steadiness. It is no great plan to always throw caution to the wind, though This House would be more expressive if it did. Flickers of Noel Gallagher come through Illuminated in its tone and pacing, but the lacklustre expectations are shoved away, and the grief-stricken vocalist powers through as UFO noises mark a bright streak. Pale Blue Eyes know when to take themselves to the edges of their genre, to test their limitations and to express their honest and deeply buried feelings as clearly as they can. Repetition is the greatest strength of this Sheffield-based band, who prove, as so many have done before them, the best music really does come from the Steel City.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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