Marketing is a tricky business, especially when it comes to such acts as House of Heroes. When their self-titled, national debut was released through Gotee Records in April of last year, they were busy gearing up for the summer festival run. It was a marketing nightmare. Promoting a new album without a national tour is an unspoken "no-no" in the business, and it wasn't until late 2005, months after the album had released, that they were actually able to go on tour.
Bands like House of Heroes are hard to market in the first place. When a band comes along with a completely different sound, it's always a gamble, and you can only hope for the best. But with the aforementioned circumstances as a hindrance, it quickly became a lose-lose situation.
Enter Mono Vs. Stereo. A record label, not only under the umbrella of Gotee Records, but also a label much better suited for a band like House of Heroes. So, almost a year to the day after the release of their self-titled debut, House of Heroes brings us Say No More through Mono Vs. Stereo, a re-release with two additional tracks and redesigned artwork. This review will cover those two additional tracks, with a full album review available here.
The first new track is sandwiched between "Friday Night" and "Mercedes Baby." "The Invisible Hook" talks about America's apathy when it comes to those hurting outside of our own nation. It's convicting and powerful, in true House of Heroes fashion. It sounds a bit out of place on the record, but any sort of addition to a year old album will sound out of place. On it's own, it is not only a fantastic message to America ("We could change the world five times, if only we could open our eyes. Give us a guiding light. Give us a hope in the night."), but an excellent display of the maturity House of Heroes obviously underwent since their last recording. It sounds just a little bit more urgent, yet just a bit more catchy.
Placed between "Metaphor in Parentheses" and "Pulling Back the Skin," the other new track, "You Are the Judas of the Cheerleading Squad," is, hands down, one of the most complex, enduring songs this year, thus far. It's hard to really begin to describe it. It takes so many twists and turns along the way, musically. And the lyrics are witty, slightly sarcastic, but mostly powerful. It talks about redemption through Christ, the "fire" which forged them, and now burns within them, "And when it rains, I bet you had it coming. Live in the stream, I bet you had it coming. Every drop that comes down from above washes you clean. I bet you had it coming. I've slept in the belly of the beast. Now I sleep under Your wings."
I'm always critical of re-releases, but when a band offers it at shows for five bucks to fans that can prove they bought the original, you know their hearts are in the right place. Here's to hoping House of Heroes' Say No More gets more people into one of Christian music's best kept secrets.- Review date: 5/1/06, written by Josh Taylor
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