After a two year run as a studio project, guitarist/vocalist Sean Hoen and multi-instrumentalist Josh Machniak decided to form a permanent live band in an attempt to take their atmospheric, richly textured song craft to new heights. After releasing a retrospective collection of studio tracks ("Collected Songs", DPA020301), Leaving Rouge enlisted Jason Vogel (bass) and Kari Buzelwski (piano/vocals) and began performing and writing. The result: the White Houses EP, a striking, painstakingly crafted collection of songs that could be described as a work that weds the melodic atmospheres of Disintegration-era Cure with the singer/songwriter ethic and lyricism of the Red House Painters. The EP exhibits the band's talent at writing compositional monsters; their construction of guitar/piano counter melodies; Machniak's idiosyncratic yet graceful use of the entire kit; the patient, ambient movement of the bass... Hoen, a seasoned front man and lyricist, fills in the narratives beautifully, spinning images of crawling through windows in the night and hanging from bridges ina way that collides with the rise and fall of the music. The result is a slow burning masterpiece that requires multiple listens, and ages well once a listener becomes acquainted with this collection of tales about hope, love, and holding on; a collage of images from one's past. Ending with "Raise Your Love", perhaps the CD's most chilling and powerful moment, the "White Houses" EP feels as though it were crafted for an early morning drive lit by hazy streetlights and rain.