Kevin House Gutter Pastoral

Creepy is a good feeling sometimes, like when the atmosphere is conducive to some goosebumps and ill-ease and a rather sedate affair actually turns into something eerily cathartic. From the album art, courtesy of the musician himself, to some rather choice lyrics, Vancouver, BC’s Kevin House elicits a good creepy feeling and makes some beautiful, sombre music along the way. Using everything from a simple guitar and voice to a Theremin and own organ-like creation, the funmachine, the atmosphere is rife with dark allusions and black humour. From the dour "Black Smoke Rising,” where House sings, "These precious words are gonna be/the last I speak take care for me” with an elegiac Tex-Mex trumpet, to best track "Rise Up,” where he dryly notes, "You’re like a flashlight in the midday sun/sending signals no one is receiving,” while ironically giving the listener a false sense of hope due to the touching, haunting choruses of "Rise Up” at the end. While House’s closest influence seems to be early Red House Painters, there is also a rather strong sense of purpose and direction for an artist’s first album. An impressive debut and an artist to take note of, for both music and art, Gutter Pastoral should fulfil those late night maudlin sessions while also inspiring through its beauty. (Bongo Beat)