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Home Is In Your Head

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Album Review

Dark, disturbing, and beautiful, His Name Is Alive's Home Is in Your Head develops the deceptively simple, abstractly emotional music they introduced on Livonia. Held together by Warren Defever's artful production, its 23 songs range from jealous contemplation to spiritual concerns, from gentle folk to white noise guitar outbursts. Karin Oliver's supple voice lends itself to an array of musical and emotional settings: she's acidly sweet on "The Charmer"'s brittle taunt "Where is your head now?/I should nail it to her door/Where are your hands now?/I know what you'd use them for." On "Why People Disappear," she's pensive: "Maybe I know as much as I ever will/We've been forever." The numerous instrumentals and interludes add to the overall yearning, searching mood. "Her Eyes Were Huge Things" builds subtle strumming and Oliver's sighs into an evocative spell, while "Hope Called in Sick" crashes in with loud, wailing guitars. The group's sound collages also find more purpose here than on Livonia; the chanting children on "Put Your Finger in Your Eye" are downright unnerving, and "Spirit and Body" conjures a story of loss out of a ticking watch and just-audible snippets of conversation. With the oddly comforting finale, "Dreams Are of the Body," Home Is in Your Head completes a seamless exploration of music and emotion.


Formed: 1989 in Livonia, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Named after history class notes on Abraham Lincoln, the Livonia, Michigan-based sonic manipulators His Name Is Alive formed when multi-instrumentalist/producer Warren Defever (also of shockabilly group Elvis Hitler) was still in high school. Defever, former schoolmate Karin Oliver (vocals), and drummer Damian Lang released self-produced cassettes of their music, one of which made its way to Ivo Watts-Russell, founder of the pioneering art label 4AD. Intrigued with His Name Is Alive's blend of spectral...
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Home Is In Your Head, His Name Is Alive
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