Formally known as No Tagbacks, House of Heroes hit it big with their independent release What You Want Is Now in 2002. Underground hype was immense, and with a few listens, very believable. The three-piece set from Columbus, Ohio mixed indie rock with British infused pop/rock for an overtly original and complex experience. And after several delays, they have readied the release of their national self-titled debut on Gotee Records.
The opening riffs of "Buckets" let you know that this project is a much more technically tight offering than their previous effort. Produced by Oran Thornton (Bleach, and formerly of Johnny Q. Public), this project is a much more aggressive piece of work. It still relies on the melodic pop-infused flavor that made What You Want Is Now so enjoyable to listen to, but keeps things more on the "tight-knit riffs" side of things.
Ballads like "Friday Night" and "Metaphor" about broken love, begin slow, but pick up speed before long. The majority of this album is somewhere in the middle. The speed and emotion come directly from the content of the song. Few bands can pull off that kind of fusion, but House of Heroes does it with style.
Perhaps the only low point of the disc comes in the form of "Mercedes Baby," a re-recording of the What You Want Is Now version. The song thrived on the raw energy of the independent release, and the technicalities of this new release hinder it from being all it was originally intended to be. The other re-recording, "Suicide Baby" (Originally titled "Kamikaze Baby") fares much better, as it actually contains more emotion than its predecessor.
Small complaints aside, House of Heroes is the kind of band that just excites you to listen to. Their self-titled debut contains enough power and emotion to keep you hooked listen after listen. Keep an eye on these guys from Ohio in the coming months and years. But in the meantime, this is one of the better releases of the year.- Review date: 04/24/05, written by Josh Taylor
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