Houses | A Quiet Darkness | Rating: 7/11 |
Abandoned homes. A post-apocalyptic search for one’s love. These are most unlikely and unusual sources of inspirations to draw upon when crafting a body of musical work, wouldn’t you say? Yes, but we simply cannot fault the end result born by Chicago duo and real life couple Dexter Tortoriello and Megan Messina aka Houses and their album, A Quiet Darkness.
Eerie to the senses, perhaps, but this is a concept album recorded in said abandoned homes while traveling along California’s Interstate 10, capturing cinematic and ethereal sounds of the emotional journey. Electronica can be silly, overwrought and sometimes takes itself way too seriously (and dream pop is just as pretentious and insipid), but A Quiet Darkness is built upon a foundation of the sturdy yet spatial, the brooding yet hopeful, the losing yet still loving in an ambient setting that has moody tones, vocals, and haunting melody perfection written all over it. Tortoriello leads the vocal work where he manages to convey equal parts hope and hopelessness with Messina a buoyant spirit underneath.
Far from being the downer that all things may imply, this album feels like a fusion of Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie and even the moodier side of Radiohead without the complicated paranoia. “The Beauty Surrounds” does exactly that in tone and tracks like “Peasants” and the title track “A Quiet Darkness,” with their deep piano runs, possess an evocative warmth that consistently connect the threads of the melancholy story by feeling. And feeling is essentially what A Quiet Darkness is about.