Number 16 on my countdown of Top 40 Albums is Say No More by House of Heroes. I have to admit, I learned quite a bit about the making of this record in the brief amount research I completed. I was always under the impression that Say No More was House of Heroes’ first professional release after their relatively unknown debut with Vanishing Point Records (which has since essentially vanished). My impression was sort of correct. Unbeknownst to me Say No More was basically a re-release of their self-titled debut with Gotee Records with a couple additional songs. Regardless of this relatively complex album release history, may I just say that this is one heck of a record.
Musically categorizing House of Heroes is a difficult task (as it is with so many great artists). One can often find their music categorized under Punk Rock or the even more general Christian Rock. I think each of these labels are a wild simplification for a group that can successfully bind the melodic stylings and background vocals of The Beatles with the dark intensity of hard modern rock with an intricate treatment of the drums and bass as equal parts of the rock trio tied in with an incredibly tight sound that involves complex time signatures either in brief moments or for minutes at a time. So, let’s just call it awesome.
Before I supply a couple music samples from Say No More I would love to indulge in one of my absolute favorite aspects of the album. My immediate fascination with Say No More was in the uniqueness of the song structure. Many of the songs are not in standard pop song form, and several don’t necessarily rely on a chorus to hook you. Rather, the approach to this album seems to me to be a meticulous and invigorating approach to rock music. Many songs don’t necessarily have a standard “verse” that happens between choruses. Instead, there are often unique sections of music between each chorus. Additionally, this album uses strongly contracting dynamics to it’s advantage, demanding your attention as each musical idea is masterfully sequenced to provide a musical groundwork that tells a story along with the poignant, sometimes bordering on genius, lyrics. What keeps me coming back to this album over and over again is the craftsmanship and the surprises. I love the juxtaposition of a gorgeous melody sang in a tenor falsetto against a driving distorted guitar and pick bass riff. I love that for a few seconds you might be transported back to an early 60’s Beatles or Beach Boys song before diving into an intense drum-driven section. And finally, I love the honesty of this record. This album deals with some dark themes and deals with them with integrity and beauty.
Ah, there is just so much complexity musically and lyrically on Say No More I feel like I could ramble about it forever. But, I suppose I should provide a few samples as the music will sound much more intelligible than these rambles have been. It was unbelievably difficult to choose just two songs from this record as they are all so, so great. After quite a bit of deliberation and listening though the record three full times, I finally chose two songs from the “A Side” of the album and will strongly encourage you to listen to the entirety of the album because the “B Side” is one of the most incredible runs of songs on any recorded album. So, without further ado, here are tracks 2 and 6 from Say No More: “Fast Enough” and “Serial Sleepers.”
So, number 16 on the countdown is Say No More by House of Heroes. If you are keeping up with the countdown I apologize for the three week absence. I just started a new job and have been (and probably will continue) working long hours to try to acclimate myself with all my responsibilities. After writing this post, I am two weeks behind, so you can probably look for another post very soon (possibly even later today) so I can catch up as quickly as possible to make sure I finish the countdown before the new year! Thanks for reading, and be sure to tune back in for number 15!