With their most recent releases, The End Is Not the End and Suburba, House of Heroes have proven themselves to be a band worth listening to, whether you consider their creative and catchy rock music or their brilliantly insightful lyrics. Before either of those albums existed, though, and even before the band added guitarist Jared Rigsby to their lineup, the Heroes released an album called What You Want Is Now. Listening to it now shows that the band has certainly grown a lot since 2003, but that's not to say that they weren't able to make a thoroughly enjoyable album back then.
"Julia" and "Barbara's Birthday" kick the album off on a fun note with some sweet rockers, but they are quickly overshadowed by "Mercedes Baby," a catchy and fantastically executed track that features some rather enjoyable instrumental sections and solid vocals. After this point, the album mostly continues on a level of quality like that of the first two songs; all of the remaining tracks are fun, catchy, and tightly executed, except perhaps the light and slow "Uncomfortable," which is a decent track despite the stark contrast it poses to the rest of the album. A few more highlights enter the picture, though, namely "Your Wurlitzer," "Kamikaze Baby," and "Honesty."
As energetic and entertaining as the album proves to be up to that point, the record's finest gem doesn't enter the picture until "Something of an Optimist." The track starts off with just a softly strummed acoustic guitar, some light electric chords, and Tim Skipper's voice. Later, though, it practically explodes as Skipper belts out, "I'll see you in heaven!" after singing a song that lyrically builds itself on optimism in the face of losing loved ones. If you listen to one song on What You Want Is Now, make it "Optimist."
But of course, if you're going to check out one song on this album, you'll probably just keep listening; it's easily energetic and enjoyable enough to keep your interest from start to finish. If you're a House of Heroes fan, What You Want Is Now is definitely worth checking out to see where the band came from and enjoy some of their earlier music; if you haven't listened to them yet, though, I wouldn't recommend tracking down this somewhat rare piece of HoH history, but rather look into their more recent releases first, which are significantly stronger. But don't forget to go back if you do enjoy their other material, because What You Want Is Now is definitely an entertaining and worthwhile release.
Review date: 9/7/11, written by Joe Zamolo for Jesusfreakhideout.com