Houses Drugstore Heaven Review For Northern Transmissions


Drugstore Heaven


In a sea of EPs that either go wildly off the rails or give us more of the same, Houses uses their latest offering to give the most to a small set of tracks. Through lush production and exciting pop compositions, the producer imagines worlds to surround his emotional stories. Though it uses pop you’ve heard before, each idea becomes something new in the hands of Houses.

Houses bring a deceptive simplicity to their writing on a track like “Fast Talk” where every line brings an addictive hook layered in dense instrumentation. While it definitely stands as something familiar, the way Houses twists every little detail keeps it fresh. All the sparse qualities are heightened by honest pieces of tape from Tortoriello’s life and his ability to constantly bring something new every few bars keeps the song from growing old. This sense of majesty is truly breathtaking on repeat listens and Houses’ self-awareness to the roots of his pop assure it doesn’t suffer.

This sensibility is just as present on “Left Alone” where bouncing beats and a punchy mix of synths never seem to let up. It’s bright and to the point, and it rarely has to be anything more than that, given how fun Houses mix can feel. Admittedly the song can feel a tad one-note by the time you’re halfway through, as it does ride its main hooks from top to bottom. All things considered however, Tortoriello does keep messing with the dynamics to assure it’s not more akin to some kind background music.

“Years” however hits with a mix of EDM and an epic synthwave luster, which only makes its switch-up into ethereal pop feel somewhat disheartening. This other side of the track however is dreamy and expands in its own way beautifully, and the only disappointment is that it’s other side never gets fully explored itself. Through all the lush harmonies, Houses creates this kind of mesmerizing swirl of melodies and uses his own voice as both a core and accent.

There’s a strange air to “Pink Honey” as Houses really draws out his opening and only opens up to a fairly laidback chorus. It’s the way Tortoriello begins evolving this central idea that makes the track feelmore interesting. As a constant beat and guitar stand front and centre, Houses builds this spiritual sweep of strings and bells to elevate you to heaven. While it may grow old for some, this track has a slow-burning beauty that is well worth your patience.

Words by Owen Maxwell



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