Staying away from the scene for a while can work a number of ways. It could leave your sound in a snowglobe, pristine and pretty but never changing. It could leave you trailing behind the strides made within the genre since your last record. It could also leave you wondering whether anyone actually gives a shit any more. Luckily for Canadian dream-pop duo Memoryhouse, none of these seem applicable.
Soft Hate is a title that very much crystallises the ethos of Evan Abeele and Denise Nouvion – theirs is pointed indie songwriting, wrapped in marshmallowy cloth. If there’s anger, it’s behind the gentle riffs of Fate. If there’s pain, it’s in Nouvion’s pillowed delivery of “how much time was undone?” on Get Back. There’s a harder attack on Arizona and the irresistible chords of Dream Shake, but essentially Memoryhouse fill the softer space between peers like School of Seven Bells and CHVRCHES.
In many ways, Memoryhouse were the beginning of a spearhead movement that’s resulted in what we recognise as dream-pop today. Strangely enough, as time has passed by and they’ve been defined by work from years ago, they still seem at the forefront of that sound. They’re not shy of a radio-friendly Sarah counterbalancing a more wistful Knife In The Water, or dialling it all down for the moving balladry of It Was True. Through it all, the sound remains resolutely Memoryhouse, and Soft Hate inspires nothing but solid love from a band whose re-entry needs an open-armed welcome.