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House Of Fools [EP]

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 21, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

About the Artist

Josh King: Vocals, Guitar David McLaughlin: Guitar Joel Kiser: Guitar Matt Bowers: Keyboards Jeff Linn: Bass Phil Bell: Drums

Given tastemakers' habit of focusing on "the next big thing" from either coast, North Carolina may seem an unlikely breeding ground for musical genius. But when you look back at the legends who've come from NC--from Ben Folds to Ryan Adams, Thelonious Monk to Superchunk--you realize how head-slappingly obvious it is. More than "something in the water," there's something in the spirit of North Carolina that fosters pure, uninhibited musical ingenuity. And with Greensboro's House Of Fools, NC adds yet another chapter to its legacy.

Rock-solid and subtly infectious, House Of Fools' self-titled Drive-Thru Records debut proves what a dynamic powerhouse the band is in the studio. But as anyone who's heard these songs at shows over the past year will tell you, the EP also confirms House Of Fools' reputation as a monster live act. From the piano strains and guitar-god heroics of the concert staple "Live And Learn" to the cascading acoustic beauty of "Better Part Of Me" (featuring The Wallflowers' Rami Jaffee on accordion and organ), the five songs on House Of Fools sound fleshed-out and intimate mostly because they had a chance to evolve in concert first. "When we get in the studio, it really forces us to get our ideas together and focus on the moment," says singer/guitarist Josh King. "Live, we tend to be a lot looser, and a lot of times we find that's where our best ideas come from."

It was a much different story just two years ago, when, playing in the well-regarded rock/punk group The Necessary, King, guitarists David McLaughlin and Joel Kiser, and bassist Jeff Linn found themselves feeling boxed in by the more straightforward nature of their sound. "We all liked what we were doing in the Necessary; that was the sort of music we grew up on," McLaughlin remembers, "But as we got older and our musical tastes started evolving, it wasn't the only music we were listening to anymore."

The music they were listening to--a sonic melting pot that included everything from '80s guitar-rock wizardry to classic singer-songwriter ballads--crystallized in the form of a 2004 demo recorded by King and future HOF keyboardist Matt Bowers. "These were basically just songs that I recorded for fun, just so I could document them and get them out there," King remembers. Ironically, though he had no big aspirations for the music beyond the simple joy of making it, King saw his demos catching Drive-Thru Records' attention--and following the addition of Phil Bell on drums, House Of Fools quickly evolved from demo project to full-scale band.

Making their official recorded debut on Drive-Thru's 2005 compilation Listen To Bob Dylan: A Tribute with a cover of "Blowin' In The Wind," House Of Fools hit the studio that summer with producer Walt Vincent (The Format, Pete Yorn) to lay down tracks for their first proper Drive-Thru release. And as House Of Fools proves, freewheelin' folk-rock is just one of the classic styles that inform the band's sound. The band's triple-guitar attack, packed with harmony leads and huge volume swells, puts HOF in league with Southern-rock giants, while their lush keyboards and rich orchestrations add a simultaneously modern and timeless feel that finds previously unexplored links between Queen and Elliott Smith. "What gives [the EP] this cool kind of weirdness is that we all have similar and totally different influences at the same time," McLaughlin explains. "But the great thing is that we can all appreciate each other's differences."

Over the past year, shows with Limbeck, Daphne Loves Derby, Hellogoodbye, Steel Train, and other eclectic kindred spirits have only cemented House Of Fools' reputation as a scorching live act. Shortly after catching their breakout set at the 2006 South By Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas, Alternative Press magazine proclaimed HOF one of "100 Bands You Need To Know In 2006" in its annual cover special.

With an upcoming full-length featuring additional production from Mike Green (Paramore, The Matches) on tap, House Of Fools have only begun to show their potential. And even if the world may not have its eye on North Carolina at the moment, it's only a matter of time before the band shifts people's focus. "The only thing I'm sure of is that we'll keep evolving," says Josh. "Our next record might sound completely different than the EP; but hopefully, to people out there who can appreciate a whole range of music, they'll see we're writing this music because we enjoy it; it feels good to us. Hopefully, people will hear it and go, `Oh, yeah - so that's what rock `n' roll sounds like!' If nothing else, they'll definitely have fun."

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 21, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: INgrooves Fontana/Drive-Thru Records
  • ASIN: B000I5YD8C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,518 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD

1. Live and Learn

2. Let's Follow

3. My Life Before Today

4. Kiss The Haze (Alternate Version)

5. Get Happy

Drive-Thru Records have been taking steps in the recent past to branch out towards new sounds and the types of talent that is featured on the label. Artists like An Angle, Steel Train and even Hellogoodbye would have been extremely out of place when the label was started over a decade ago. But it is 2006 and with time brings change. Along with the aforementioned groups comes the North Carolina act, House of Fools. Staying mostly on the tranquil, laid-back side of indie rock, the self-titled EP released through Drive-Thru Records is extremely mature and shows that this band is destined for huge things.

Taking influences from older artists like Bob Dylan and more contemporary acts like Ryan Adams and As Tall As Lions, House of Fools melds together complex melodies and intricate musicianship in this effort. The instrumentation for much of the disc is extremely clear, which is mostly thanks to the producer Mike Green. The guitars are crystal clear and the drums come though extremely well. The first song, "Live and Learn," starts out as a transparent key driven track and by the end becomes a lush rock and roll orchestration akin to a band like Muse. Meanwhile the final track, "Get Happy" sounds like a Bright Eyes b-side complete with mainly an acoustic guitar and semi-whispered lyrics. On top of it all, the lyrics are just beautifully written and sung. Josh is an amazing vocalist and it sounds as if the whole album works around what he has to offer. While some songs might come off a little hokey ("Let's Follow") they are still well-written pieces of music.
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Format: Audio CD
House Of Fools is a band with a very unique and different sound. As part of Drive-Thru Records, House Of Fools have just released their debut self titled EP. I awaited the release of this EP weeks before it was released on October 17, 2006. The EP opens with a track titled "Live And Learn". This is a slow piano ballad that progresses into a full on rock song by the end of the 5 minute track. Following this track is a track titled "Let's Follow". This is a fun song that makes me want to just sign along. The EP continues on with songs such as "My Life Before Today", "Better Part Of Me", and "Get Happy". With a total of five beautifully written and perfectly put together songs, this EP would definitely be my number one favorite release of 2006 so far. I not only suggest, but URGE you to purchase this EP. At a great low price, this amazing, one of a kind, masterpiece of incredibly original rock music can be yours. You can't beat the low price for such high quality music. It's truely an amazing EP and I would highly reccommend it to anyone who has an open mind and a love for great original music. :)
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Format: Audio CD
I think the EP for House Fools is Amazing. The band has a memorizing sound to it especially on the song Let's Follow which starts off sounding like a music box is playing. The band has a new, fresh sound and the vocals are awesome on the EP. It doesn't matter what mood you are in when you listen to the EP it has a good range and can fit to the way the listener feels. I'm looking forward to hearing more from this band!
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House of Fools is a an extremely talented new band. The music is brilliant and the vocalist, amazing. I have seen these guys live and they put on quite a show. The best new band I've seen come along in years. This EP is on their mellow side. Do yourself a favor, buy the EP and see them live. HOF is destined for big things. Guaranteed to be a HUGE southern rock band.
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House Of Fools [EP]
This item: House Of Fools [EP]
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