Sound, No Fury: Huff This!

 

huff-this-album-artFor rock and roll, and pop music in general, to be successful, it needs to have a modicum of volume and brutality that will stun the listener enough to forget the relative simplicity of the music.  In this case, brutality means the sheer force of the sound; the Jesus and Mary Chain, for example, are fun to listen to because of the brute force their feedback and distortion lends the pretty little bubblegum songs they write.  The menacing melody of “Venus and Furs” by the Velvet Underground is given more power by Cale’s electric viola meshing with Reed’s guitar Even half of ABBA’s success, for chrissakes, is because of the sound; the electronic disco atmosphere of “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!”, or the Nordic singing voices (you know that SOS is a great song partly because “understood” is pronounced to rhyme with “mood”).  The band Huff This! have no such successes.

Huff This! describe their sound as “eclectic collages of folk, punk, pop, blues, and country”, and indeed this is somewhat evident. The biggest problem with Huff This! is that too often, the songs are too unassuming in their sound.  The one uptempo track, Alexandra, stands out not because of an especially better melody, but because this is one of the few tracks that drives, unlike the drifting “Ode to Divorce”, featuring an acoustic guitar riff that sonically encapsulates a pencil doodle.  That particular song is kind of like Beat Happening minus the songwriting and plus actual recording equipment.  Guess which turns out to be more important.  

I’d like to say more, but these songs don’t inspire any sort of ire in me; they’re just boring, but would be pretty good as background music.  Seeing as my review here wasn’t too favorable, I doubt any other bands will spring to send me their albums, as Huff This! did, but I will listen to any album sent to me at “peteylovesramones@gmail.com”; I will give it a good review if it has the volume and brutality necessary.  Noise is welcome.

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