RIYLThe Classic Crime
Tracklist1. A Man Who's Not Afraid
2. Out My Way
3. Dance (Blow It All Away)
4. Remember the Empire
5. We Were Giants
6. The Cop
7. Comfort Trap
8. Touch This Light
9. Angels of Night
13. I Am a Symbol
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One of the most consistent groups that almost no one has heard of is Columbus, Ohio’s own House of Heroes. The band is set to release its fifth studio album tomorrow, July 10th. What can listeners expect this time around? Oh, how about thirteen 100% USDA Prime cuts of alternative rock? Does that sound appealing? Before you stop reading, take heed of this: House of Heroes mated the better parts of modern alt rock/punk (read: catchy hooks) with the best parts of classic rock (read: great lyrics and solid instrumentation). What is undeniable is the absolute fun that will explode from your speakers once you hit play.
One of the band’s greatest assets is the ability to create a cohesive album made up of tracks that are sonically varied. “On My Way” is vintage House of Heros, as it relies on a thumping bass line and solid drum work to propel the song to its boisterous chorus. In fact, that may be one of the best ways to describe what works so well about the album: House of Heroes has mastered the art of the standard song structure. Sure, there are some variances, but each track doesn’t so much rely on the verse-chorus-verse-pre-chorus-chorus-etc. as it straight-up owns that structure. These Ohioans don’t try to imitate Rush; instead, they succeed at being genuine and talented. Cold Hard Want is all about wanting to do things on your own terms and in your way, and that ethos is showcased throughout the album.
While the structures may be similar, the strength of the album's songs are in their sonic variety. Songs like “Remember the Empire,” the downright Muse-ian “Suspect,” and “Comfort Trap” are rather aggressive, especially compared to slow burners like “Angels of Night” and “I Am a Symbol.” House of Heroes is equally adept at both tempos, as each of those five songs is highly impressive in its own right. “Remember the Empire” is a rarity in that it forgoes vocal harmonies for a driving beat. The best song on the album might be the closer “I Am a Symbol,” as its build up is quite rewarding and serves as a solid representation of what makes the band tick.
Of all of the curve balls on the record, arguably the most surprisingly is that one of the best songs is mostly an acoustic jam. “We Were Giants” has a subtle yet massive hook that has ingrained itself in my cranium, and it may never leave. Seriously, I have tried my best, yet outside of surgery, there is no cure. The difficult part is explaining what makes the song so endearing, yet it flows with the same logic that makes the rest of the album so enjoyable: execution. The music is interesting and well done, and Tim Skipper’s lyrics carry some emotional weight as the listener inexplicably starts singing them back to the speakers.
House of Heroes has certainly delivered with Cold Hard Want. In fact, the most significant complaint to be found on the album is the album title is a bit lame. However, the music and the passion these Ohioans exude on the album is anything but lame. Alternative rock may not need a group of heroes, but it may have found a candidate here.