The House Of Love were a strange union between thirtysomething Guy Chadwick – a seen-it-all bedsit poet-cum-songwriter who’d already spent a decade in failed groups – and the youthful vigour of his accomplices, particularly guitarist Terry Bickers.
For a while – at the back end of the 80s – House Of Love seemed the men most likely to leave the rest of the indie pack trailing.
Arguably the first ‘post-C86’ band, the band hit the ground running after signing to Alan McGee’s Creation label in 1987 (at the urging of McGee’s then-wife) and releasing a pair of singles – Shine On and Real Animal – before unveiling Christine.
With its hypnotic drones, layers of guitar reverb and blissful vocal harmonies – and influences ranging from The Velvet Underground to Roxy Music and The Beach Boys – Christine helped establish The House Of Love as one of the defining guitar bands of the late 1980s.
Their dark, trippy, self-titled debut LP was the indie highlight of the first Smiths-free summer (1988).
Second guitarist Andrea Heukamp had recently quit, but even on its own, Terry Bickers’ chiming guitar still had a muscular feel at odds with Chadwick’s fragile vocals. The bubbling jangle of Never was glorious, as was I Don’t Know Why I Love You.
Sadly the band were about to hit several walls, and shoe-gazing milquetoasts and Madchester would soon cruelly steal their druggy vision and musical thunder.
There was an overcooked second album – the product of a deal brokered with Fontana by McGee. Meanwhile, the band’s drug intake got out of hand and, in 1989, Bickers quit amid rumours of nervous breakdowns or a suicide attempt.
The band struggled on for a few more albums, before eventually splitting up in 1993.
In 2003, The House Of Love reunited, with Bickers reinstated in the lineup.