House Of Heroes - Suburba
Record Label: Gotee Records
Release Date: August 3rd, 2010
I must be in the minority by wanting to live in the downtown area of a big city, because clearly that’s not where it’s at. Seeing as two albums (this month!) have been written in its honor, suburbia seems to have the popular vote. Masked in secrets, the suburbs are the most seemingly normal, yet surprisingly interesting and drama-filled place to live. In a way, however, suburbia is the perfect analogy for music these days. How many of your favorite bands have a simple sound anymore? Can you quickly describe to a friend or co-worker what your favorite band sounds like? It seems simple, but in reality, it’s nearly impossible. ‘They’re kind of like…well, you know Radiohead? It’s kind of like that, but with less…here, just borrow the damn CD.’ This has happened to everybody on more than one occasion, and such is the case with House Of Heroes.
Nobody will ever know why a band chooses to write a concept album. Yeah, it’s kind of cool when a group writes around a recurring theme and sure, it turns out really well sometimes, but personally, I don’t see a need for them. Most of the best albums made are the best albums because they fit together as a whole without needing a theme. With that said, Surburba is a (mostly) solid release from a band that’s SO close to finding a sound that’s all their own. ‘Relentless’ is the perfect song to start the album out, seeing as it’s literally relentless musically, and lyrically it gives the listener a great idea of the trip they’re in for the next 50 minutes.
I’m just going to say this right now, and get it out of the way: Tim Skipper has one of the best voices I’ve heard in a long, long time. He takes the album’s first few misfires in ‘Love Is For The Middle Class’ and ‘God Save The Foolish Kings’ and makes them still somewhat enjoyable with his unbelievable range that would make even Matt Thiessen jealous. Speaking of duds, though, they’re something every concept album is going to have. It’s twice as tough to axe a track from an album like that, because you’re not just cutting a song, you’re cutting a part of a story that might be fairly crucial. The song ‘Independence Day For A Petty Thief’ is completely unnecessary. I hate to be blunt, but it’s not a good song. However, lyrically, it’s in a perfect spot. It chronicles growing up in a suburban area, and not living up to the big dreams of all of suburbia’s finest brainchildren.
Luckily, the four or five subpar songs are much overshadowed by the fact that this band knows how to kick ass. Songs like ‘Somebody Knows’ and ‘Constant,’ among others, are proof that bands like Bon Jovi could’ve had a ton more fans, played much higher-quality music, and keep their sound pretty much the same. The obvious influences keep shooting out my speakers as I listen to the extremely strong closer ‘Burn Me Down.’ Trying his best to sound like Matt Bellamy, House Of Heroes could’ve entered a Muse imitation contest (if those existed) and easily gotten third place, possibly even second. In the end, coming out just a little bit bottom-heavy, Suburba was a fun, but not necessarily wild ride.
So I suppose this wouldn’t be much of a review if I didn’t link all this back to the intro, huh? I need to make sense of this whole ‘suburbia: music ::’ logic. Bands might seem simple on the outside. Groups like Lydia, Tokyo Police Club, etc. might have a very specific sound, but try and describe it in less than five words. There’s so much happening behind the scenes, ‘under the sheets’, so to speak, that it echoes the mystery of life in a suburban area. We don’t always know what’s going on. House of Heroes hasn’t quite found their sound yet. They’re like the new neighbor. They’re the new housewife that’s looking to have an affair, they just haven’t met the new gardener yet, or the husband that’s searching for the best-looking babysitter. Eventually, it’s going to happen, though, and they won’t stop going to PTA and neighborhood watch meetings until it does.
"independence day for a petty thief" is one of my favorite songs on the album. really well written song.
how in the world does tim skipper do his best to sound like matt bellamy? bellamy is like an opera school drop out. maybe the song style is similar to muse, but not much else.