"I just received House of Dolls two days ago along with Discover. There's no question that House of Dolls is the better of the two. Lets start with the important thing - great, catchy songs. Discover has two great songs, Wait and See, and Desire. House of Dolls has 4 really great songs, and 4 very good songs, and 2 good songs. Gorgeous is great, a little too long though. Suspicion is great, just awsome, a perfect song. Treasure is excellent. Drowning Crazy is very good. Really, this album doesn't have a bad song. It was interesting to note that Peter Walsh produced only one song on Discover, Desire, which was the best song of the album. He produced this whole album, he really captures the band perfectly. What a damn good job."
Heavy Guitar + Dance Mix = Incredible Album
Kirk Lott | adrift on the seas of life | 01/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The smart goth of The Cure. The brilliant hard rock of early Aerosmith. The stylish beat of Duran Duran. If you ever liked any of the above, Gene Loves Gezebel is for you. And The House of Dolls is their masterpiece. With the exception of the first two songs, every track on this album is a winner. From the driving passion of Suspicion (the mislabled fourth track), to the relentless slashing guitar to Twenty Killer Hurts, to the hauntingly atmospheric Up There, you will dig this great album."
Strong Transitional Album for GLJ
SandmanVI | Glen Allen, VA United States | 01/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like many of the 80's postpunk bands, Gene Loves Jezebel went through many phases along their musical journey. Also like many postpunk bands, Jezzie started by combining elements of punk and Goth... think Siouxsie, Joy Division/New Order, The Cult, The Cure, Love & Rockets/Bauhaus, The Church, etc. While others became more electronic (New Order) or alternative rock (Cure, Church, Love & Rockets), Jezzie went more in a hard rock direction making them somewhat similar in this cadre of bands to The Cult without the overt metal aspect. That's exactly where you find them on 'House of Dolls', transitioning from the dark alt-rock of earlier works to the more accessible, harder guitar-driven music found here.
Most people like this album quite a lot (especially in retrospect) but it is important to note that at the time many of their early, underground fans considered this album to be a sellout exchanging creativity for an attempt to hit the hard rock mainstream... One should also note that The Cult got the same exact criticism in the same exact year as they moved from nuanced beauty of 'Love' to the party metal of "Electric'. Well, from a sales angle the crossover worked as GLJ jumped to the front of alternative pop and drew attention from the rock crowd like never before; they went from playing small clubs to playing large venues quickly during this time. In sum, they lost some hardcore early fans but picked up legions of new ones.
So let's discuss the album itself. First let's dispel much of the inaccuracy that you've read elsewhere (maybe even in this thread of reviews). First, this is not in any way a Goth album. There are elements of the darker edges from previous works lurking within the songs but nothing borders on outright Goth as this is quite a poppy, rock effort. In fact, if you didn't know their earlier history the thought wouldn't really occur to you at all. Secondly, it is not a widely accepted fact that 'House of Dolls' is by far their best work; This point is widely debated among fans many of whom hate this album and see this as the point at which they started to go wrong. Furthermore, in defense of 'Discover' it did not have only 2 good songs - it did after all have 4 singles (Heartache, Desire, Beyond Doubt and Sweetest Thing) and the most buzz went to Heartache and Desire. 'Discover' was the album that made GLJ an underground sensation just as 'Head on the Door' did for The Cure... 'House of Dolls' pushed them more into the mainstream but it didn't start the buzz - this is critical to know.
OK so onto the songs themselves. There are at least 5 great songs on the album; Yours will vary but my faves are "Gorgeous", "Motion of Love", "Set Me Free", "20 Killer Hurts" and "Up There". As you can see I clearly disagree with the other reveiwer's notion that the 1st 2 songs are the only bad ones... apparently so did GLJ as those 2 songs were the LEAD singles and both appear on the Best-Of collections. All of these songs offer strong riffs, catchy hooks and solid refrains that will stick in your head. What makes the band unique is Aston's sometimes smoky and alternately high-pitched voice; It's truly unlike anyone else. In this era where you basically choose between vocalists that sound like pseudo-grunge deep voice ripoffs of Eddie Vedder (Creed, Disturbed, etc.) or whiny pop-punks (Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182, etc.), uniqueness is key. Another item is interest is the fact that Jezzie was one of the only bands crossing over into hard rock that was outwardly and openly gay. I mean they looked gay, but that point got lost in the over-made-up glam look of the time anyway. Listen to songs like "Gorgeous" and it's clearly in the lyrics. He's singing a love song to another guy who is caught up living as a straight man in a small town that would never accept the true him - "So you go a bar and you talk to your friends about girls and cars... you're so gorgeous, baby yes you are... save me... take me."
Gene Loves Jezebel was a major player in 80's alternative and they had loads of very good songs. They should not be forgotten. 'House of Dolls' in my opinion is excellent combining catchy rock riffs, haunting melodies and distinct vocals. I'm not sure if I like it more than earlier albums where the bass and beats were more prominent as opposed to the lead guitar dominance here, but it's worth having."
Except for 'Motion Of Love'...
Crashsite | Palm Desert, CA USA | 12/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I give this album 5 stars (though I'm not a fan of this version of 'Motion Of Love' - music is great, but prefer the Motion Demo available elsewere). Otherwise I love this album for the time period it takes me back to. 'Treasure' is my favorite track. DISCOVER is equally a great solid album. They are great Jezebel albums and excellent Jezebel tracks can be found on all their albums."
AND JEZEBEL LOVES GENE
Guy De Federicis | east of here | 06/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perfectly representative of 80s music, Gene Loves Jezebel's "The House of Dolls" holds it's ground today as just good playful and meaningful rock and roll pop. The gushy and upbeat, "The Motion of Love" (a minor hit record), and back door romance of "Suspicion", would be standard rock love songs if not for GLJ's glittery and pounding treatment, both songs deliver an addictive melody with a relentless beat your mind won't feel guilty humming. The call and response falsetto vocal in "Every Door" lingers in an ocean of tic-toc percussion and jangly guitar. A bit like, The Alarm, a bit like, Pet Shop Boys, a bit like, Dream Syndicate, they represent 80s rock (not quite new wave), yet remain in a unique category of their own, call it hard playful pop."