I think I’ve explained the demise of The House of Love in enough detail in previous posts (nutshell: drugs, egos, bust-ups and bus stops), but it’s always worth reminding yourself that they were as good musically as they were messed up psychologically.
Pink Frost is the last track on the CD single and 12-inch of ‘The Girl With The Loneliest Eyes’, and is so quintessentially perfect as a House of Love casually tossed away piece of b-side brilliance that it came as some surprise a few years ago to discover that I hadn’t been paying close attention to the liner notes, and that the song was in fact credited to Martin Phillips and Terry Moore of New Zealand band The Chills.
Originally released as a single in 1984, Pink Frost reached #17 on the New Zealand singles chart (further evidence to my as yet not fully formed theory that there’s some correlation between chart audience size and a prevalence of humdrum chart hits) before finding its way onto Kaleidoscope World, the band’s 1986 album that collected their early EPs into one handy LP-sized slice of fried gold. As such, this makes Pink Frost a double score for the playlist: a cover version (released as a b-side) of a standalone single that was part of a compilation album.
Here’s the original for you to compare with the later cover. Note the first part to the intro, which The House of Love dropped, and the edge and darkness of Phillips’ vocals: it’s altogether less certain, less glossy than Guy Chadwick’s take. To add to the haunting poignancy, The Chills dedicated the song to Martyn Bull, their drummer, who had died in 1983.