Gig Seeker Pro


London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Pop Avant-garde




"Houses of Joy Album Pre-Release Review by Liam O'Shea"

For an album titled “Houses of Joy”, a casual music listener might expect joyous ukulele songs about dancing on the roof. This is far from that. This breathes darkness.

Meladora began as a brother-sister duo Maryn and Genevieve and have now expanded into a full band. Complementing their often ultravoltaic shows, Meladora’s debut full-length album has shaped up to be something quite amazing.

The initial recording groundwork was done at The Compound Studios, Los Angeles with some guest contributions from The Mars Volta’s Ikey Owens and Lauryn Hill’s former music advisor Brandon Eugene Owens. Not quite finished, they ventured back to London to mix where it was all polished and hung up to dry.

Lyrically, this album is heavy. Human disconnection, containment, the state of the world and loneliness appear to be some of the prominent themes. That’s not to say that these songs are hard to listen to. It’s a kind of dark pop. It’s haunting, yet powerful. It expresses something which is hard to pin down – a mystical realm? The other side? The thoughts of a desert wanderer? It’s uncertain whether they represent the present or another time. Perhaps these words shine a spotlight on human imperfection in order to teach us the undenying need to break free from conformity. The track titles incite images in mind and play as jigsaw pieces to the songs they represent.

Almost operatic, the lead vocals cry out, reaching for hands that aren’t always there. Opening track ‘Siren Call’ might make you start to think, are we hearing the singing voice of a siren? It’s gentle at times but doesn’t fear from breaking out of the cage. The eastern dervish of ‘Shapeshifter’ highlights the true strength of Genevieve’s singing voice. Pained screams in Darfur, lilting over a haunting piano motif provide one of the albums more subdued moments. Very rarely, are there albums which can express this much pain and hope all at once. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill kind of album. This is a righteous return to the art of music.

All of the tracks flow into one another. Maryn’s magical guitarness links the sections and round out the album, turning light into dark and dark into light down a twisted spiral. ‘Nomad Song’ contains this album’s rare appearance of the acoustic guitar which beautifully clouds out the often disorienting, ghost-like, psychedelic layers of sound. ‘Century’ doesn’t hold back on the guitar, attacking with a violent and raucous attitude, as do the messy guitars washing over Past and Present. The other instruments are always moving and flowing, blending together, making it difficult to distinguish what is what. Programmed electronic drums are included with real drumkits, cleverly playing on the digital disconnection theme. The album ends with Plain Chant, a chiming guitar and vocal track that feels like a release of the cathartic energy of the previous songs.

“Houses of Joy” is bound to leave you shaken..... or possibly comforted to know that you’re not the only one who is a bit lost.


By Liam O'Shea - The Hub Magazine


2007 - Lunueo EP (Australia only release)
2010 - BBC Radio Kent Introducing playlist (multiple track airplay)
2010 - Interview - The Scene on Recharged Radio (track airplay)
2011 - BBC Introducing playlist
2012 - Houses of Joy (forthcoming)