“Please Press” is a feature that runs every Monday, detailing the albums that Modern Vinyl would love to have on the vinyl format. If you have a vinyl release that you just can’t live without anymore, either leave a comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite having one of the more impressive catalogs of music in today’s scene, along with the backing of music sites which constantly sing their praises, House of Heroes is one of those bands that just hasn’t quite been able to break out into the mainstream. Whether it’s been because of song structure that differentiates itself from the typical rock-radio fare, or because of their reputation as a religious band, something has stopped this extremely talented group from getting their big break. And I would assume that’s been at least part of the reason why many of their albums haven’t quite made it to vinyl.
Right from the beginning of their career, the Columbus-based band wrote not only catchy tracks, but songs with intelligence that many groups with commercial success could only dream of. Songs early in their career like “Julia,” “Serial Sleepers” and “Buckets For Bullet Wounds” showed an incredible potential for the rock band, while their latest album, “Suburba” contained probably their best chance at a hit single in “God Save The Foolish Kings.”
But the band’s best overall record and the one most deserving of the vinyl treatment is their third full-length effort, entitled “The End Is Not The End.” One of the best pop records of 2008, the 15-track album is one of true range, bouncing between genres by track, and at times, within the tracks themselves.
An instrumental opening leads perfectly into “If,” in which frontman Tom Skipper sings “If you were mine, I’d tear the alter down to all that I lost to romance.” It’s of course a love song, but one that House of Heroes makes just different enough through lyrics and music to stand out. “Lose Control” follows and is a faster, harder song, kicking the album up a notch. Skipper and Jared Rigsby shine on the guitars, in a real shredder of a song, especially for it essentially being on a pop album.
“Leave You Now” is one of their best, stand-alone tracks on the album, featuring a huge hook and some catchy lyrics. Skipper stands out again in the vocals department, singing, “When I get out I’m gonna run with ya, We’re gonna make our way to America” before launching into a big “Yeah,” which dominates the chorus.
“Dangerous” has the band jumping out to another genre, as they introduce a little bit of rockabilly into their sound. “In The Valley Of The Dying Sun,” is a uniquely structured track, featuring several tempo changes and some impressive drum work by Colin Rigsby. And “By Your Side” has the band slowing it down to showcase just how strong of a singer Skipper proves to be. He truly does stand as one of the most under appreciated singers in the game, proven to the tenth degree with his work on this album.
The standouts continue, even as the band gets into double digit tracks, with “Sooner or Later” containing another huge chorus, with Skipper singing, “Baby’s on fire like the colors of fall, We placed our bets on broken hearts, And sooner or later, Summer was over, And we lost it all.”
Even “Baby’s a Red,” a concept track about a Communist love story is a hit, containing yet another chorus that begs for a sing-along.
But what I’ve enjoyed most about this album as the years have passed has been the positive message that goes along with it. If you couldn’t tell by the title, “The End Is Not The End,” House of Heroes stresses a belief in the positives that come along with life, and perhaps even the afterlife. So instead of focusing on the ever constant heartbreak, this album, and really much of their work, zeroes in on what we should take in and remember as we move through life. That positivity has provided a longevity to the record that I didn’t expect when I first checked it out over three years ago.
But of course, it’s not sitting on my record shelf for one reason or another, which I just can’t take for much longer. “Suburba” is the only record that the band has had pressed and both releases are courtesy of Gotee Records. So hopefully, they’ll take a trip back in time and give this album the proper attention. It would probably require a 2xLP and if luck had it, a gatefold presentation. Some orange vinyl to match the band’s name in the artwork would look excellent.
Please Press “The End Is Not The End.”
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