House of Heroes ‘Colors’
Independent Weekly written by Vaughn Oliver
I first heard House of Heroes back in 2008 when they released their critically acclaimed album, ‘The End Is Not The End‘ (I believe I found them through an independent review site, not unlike this one!) – and from that first listen I would continue to search for a similar sound that no other band or album could quite match, even House of Heroes themselves. That is, until ‘Colors‘.
It’s still too early to say definitively if this release is on par or has the same lasting effect as ‘TEINTE‘, but the feeling it exudes brings me back to those earlier HoH days. From the simplistic introductory, “This City Is a Cage”, to the intricate and upbeat finale, “Colors Die Out”, and with every song in-between, I feel as though this band has finally hit their mark again.
‘Colors‘ tells the story of Eric, a young adult who grew up in a “less-than-ideal” town, and is now torn between two opposing characters; his Cousin Axel, and love interest Joni. Each have their own unique themes and feeling which makes for a very diverse collection of tracks, jumping around from Eric’s catchy, straight forward rock sound, to Axel’s heavy and dark melodies, and Joni’s uplifting starry-eyed wonderment. Upon first listen, this can be slightly jarring. If one jumps from song to song and doesn’t understand the central characters or motifs, the album comes across as sporadic and disjointed. But once it is realized for what it truly is, a musical piece with multiple movements spanning ~45 minutes, then all walls break down and it flows as eloquently as the best of them.
I listen to this album and am reminded of the importance that concept records have. Similar to watching a feature length film, albums of this tenacity and bravura are best consumed in full sitting, otherwise the artist’s message may be skewed or missed entirely – because from start to finish it tells an engaging, compelling story. It’s entertainingly thematic, masterfully motivated, and goes where a lot of artists, and people, these days are afraid to go. For the long haul.
If you’re not familiar with House of Heroes, I don’t blame you. They don’t have a massive following, although they deserve one, and their sound can be slightly inaccessible at times, with certain elements not everyone can easily dive in to. They have also been labeled by many as a Christian rock outfit, which, while God and religion is a theme that the band does use semi-frequently, is a grossly boiled down classification. I implore you, as I usually do in these discussions of mine, to let yourself be enveloped by the story of Color, and open yourself up to something new, fresh, and exciting.
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written by Vaughn Oliver