This song has been going around in my head ever since I saw that Creation documentary and the fascinating interview with Guy Chadwick and Terry Bickers. Chadwick was, by all accounts, extremely ambitious, while Bickers was drifting around in a volatile drug-fuelled manic depressive haze.
Shine On was initially released on Creation in 1987, followed by a tour with Felt and Zodiac Mindwarp. Their subsequent single, Real Animal, passed virtually unnoticed, but did lead to another tour (with Mighty Lemon Drops) and further single, the better-received Christine, which marked the departure of Andrea Heukamp.
The band’s chemical intake exacerbated tensions at their alarmingly brief recording session (one week!) for their debut album. Producer Pat Collier had to pick up the pieces in a literal sense, which fortunately resulted in an indie chart number one for Christine. Creation boss Alan McGee sold the band to Fontana, remaining for a time as their manager. Escalating drug use provoked ever more erratic behaviour, and by 1989 Bickers and Chadwick were no longer talking to each other. Bickers left to form Levitation. A second album, as untitled as the first, was released and reached the UK top 10, selling 400,000 copies.
At this point, Shine On – a polished version with a killer chorus and to-die-for indie-gothic guitar line – was finally a hit. It made number 20 in the UK charts in 1990. The timing was excellent, since it naturally appealed to fans of bands like The Mission as well as Echo and the Bunnymen. There really isn’t much more to say about the song, since it’s one just to click play and enjoy, but it is yet another fine moment from a vintage musical year.
The House of Love released four further albums, splitting in 1993 and reforming in 2003. The current lineup (Guy Chadwick, Terry Bickers, Pete Evans, Matt Jury) continue to prepare material for an unspecified future release.