After an EP that was enveloped in the soft fuzz of samples and melting guitars, Memoryhouse let the songs take center stage on The Slideshow Effect. Their crisp, mature debut full-length doesn’t completely shake off the dreaminess, but they’ve clearly been writing songs with the stage in mind: a militant drum fill drives “The Kids Were Wrong,” while the guitar and synth textures of “Walk With Me” spring suddenly into a syncopated chorus. Even its quieter moments, such as the acoustic departure “Punctum,” come with well-paced urgency.
Keeping the speedier songs from stumbling is singer Denise Nouvion, whose sweet melodies drip like a gently-squeezed honey bottle. She stretches vowels like rubber bands, giving each syllable a measured attention. For all the sonic richness and percussive emphasis, it’s Nouvion that’s the heart of the record: With a more nervous band, she might’ve sunk into a reverb-soaked mix or delivered a melodramatic persona. Instead, her twee eagerness leads a group finally ready for the spotlight.