Another Overlooked Gem
B. Whitfield | Indianapolis, IN | 02/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought House of Freaks in 1991 because 'Rocking Chair' was getting pretty good airplay from the local Minneapolis alt/college rock radio station at the time. Since then, I'd only heard 'Rocking Chair' once as piped-in music at a T.G.I. Fridays several years ago.
'Rocking Chair' is an aptly named number that bounds with a laid back swagger and sound, that also reminds one of Joe Walsh - only with more clever lyrics. This song is best enjoyed on a road trip with the sun blazing into the windscreen.
You'll find other gems such as 'Never', which is an excellent bitter post-break-up poem expressing conflicting emotions of love, denial, yearning, and spitefulness all wrapped in one song. Joe Walsh-like guitars lazyily float in the background as the singer stridently emotes his feigned indifference. But the words become more mournful as the guitars come to the forefront as the angry voice plaintively recedes in the background.
'Honor Among Lovers' is another lovelorn missive that has a nice radio-friendly sound to it. Otherwise conventional vocals and instrumentals proceed with thundering drums crashing quixotically in the background, yet whole thing somehow sustains a cohesive rhythm.
'Magpie Wing' is a nice little roots music number a'la The Soggybottom Boys in the Cohen Bros. movie "O Brother Where Art Thou." Wished they took it a bit more serious and left out the burp. In other parts, you get the feeling that Bryan and Johnny took this album's recording with a very casual attitude.
'Remember Me Well' is a beautifully rendered opus, reminiscent of an Irish funeral procession that neatly ties a sentimental bow to this little forgotten gem. And I do remember this album well.
There are millions of gifted musicians, a few hundred thousand gifted musicians and songwriters. Unfortunately, the marketplace circa 1991-2000 could not adequately support all of them. Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott are among the talented-but-forgotten but I'm grateful I found their CD."