Friday, April 28, 2006

The Honored Guests: New Record, New Sound

The Honored Guests: "Say You Will"
"Sharpened Tooth"
(from Tastes Change 2006. Buy it here.)
Schooner: "Indian Sunburn"
(from 3X4 2006. Buy it here.)
Joe Romeo: "Cat Glasses" (grab it here)
(don't think he has anything to sell just yet...)

The Honored Guests play a show at Local 506 on Saturday for the release of their second album, Tastes Change. Whatever else the title signifies, it hints at a change in sound on the new release. I really enjoyed their previous effort, the enigmatically titled Iawokeinacityasleep, so the change in direction threw me for a loop at first. Where Iawoke... had a thick, fuzzy sound, on Tastes Change, everything is more distinct -- clearer and higher. There are a lot of interesting things going on in the mix, and in some ways the eclectic production reminds me of Wilco's sonic experiments on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

In part, this shifting sound is due to the addition of Patrick O'Neill on keyboards and guitar, but also flows from a conscious effort on the part of the band to make a record that was "a little more powerful and a little more weird," according to guitarist Russ Baggett. Deliberately, then, they are moving away from some of the more overtly pop moments on Iawoke... I have to confess that I miss that a bit, but now that I've had the chance to mull over Tastes Change and appreciate it in its own right, I find quite a lot to like. The band draws influences from all across the rock spectrum and timeline, from the energetic blast of "Say You Will" to the drugged-out langour of "Grown Up Clothes." "Sharpened Tooth" is a favorite for the build of chiming guitars, and for the unorthdox drumming and percussion. There's a thoughtful review of Tastes Change in this week's Independent that doesn't seem to be online yet, but I'll come back and link it later here. It ends up about where I do: "A solid second."

Unlike the Cities release show that I mentioned last week, I think the lineup for Saturday makes a lot of sense as a group. Raleigh's Schooner [previous post] has plenty of low-fi quirks but is keeping the pop core that the Honored Guests are moving away from. "Indian Sunburn/Summer" is a track from a great local collaboration that also includes music from the lovely Erie Choir [previously], the soon-to-be defunct (no!) Sames [previous 1 2], and Wilmington's Summer Set. Joe Romeo used to be in a band called Fake Swedish, which I never got around to mentioning before they broke up. Apparently he's got several new songs in the can, and "Cat Glasses" is a sweet, piano-driven pop song.



At 12:36 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Pretty cool, I downloaded the mp3 and I like it. It goes along well with our Indian Sunburn website.


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