I was a little late to joining the House of Heroes party. For a while I had seen music sites screaming how awesome HOH was, so I listened to some of their stuff and was sort of indifferent to them. Nothing special. Then came along the band's single, "Touch This Light," and I knew there was no turning back. I quickly snatched up the band's last two albums, Suburba and The End is Not the End, and I have been jamming out to Cold Hard Want for like the past month. On this album the band created some of their finest masterpieces, and created easily their best album to date. I have listened to this album more times than I can count, and I have not grown tired of it yet.
"A Man Who's Not Afraid" is a pretty daring way to open the album, and definitely different than anything I have heard a band do before. It was strange, but House of Heroes made it work. After the little one minute intro, "Out My Way" began to serenade my ears with the best song of the year so far. The song is kind of in-your-face, but at the same time not too in-your-face, if that makes sense. "Out My Way" has an urgent feel to it and at the same time is very motivating - it is perfect working out to by the way. Possibly some of my favorite lines by House of Heroes come from this song, like the chorus, "If you've got shots you wanna take, better hope it buries me, hey ey ey. If I go out then so it be; you know I'm going out my way." This was a great way to start the album off, and it easily made me super excited to listen to the rest of the album.
"Dance (Blow It All Away)" follows up "Out My Way" with a song that always makes me think of Relient K for some reason. (Do not ask me why, just go with it.) The song is filled with a bunch of metaphors from the very first stanza, and is just great lyrically. The song talks about wanting to either completely rebuilding their life or just start all over and hav fun with it - just blow it all away. "Remember the Empire" is a very fun song to listen to, and completely different than the rest on the album as far as sound goes. It is a very interesting song, with some of the most intricate instrumentals on the record that intrigue me every time I listen to it. The song seems to go along with the thematic songs they have had in the past, in fact Cold Hard Want seems to take a departure from their usual, thematic albums. So many songs on this album remind me of weird things, but "Remember the Empire" reminds me of Star Wars every single time I listen to it.
"We Were Giants" was an easy choice for my second favorite song on the record. It is a little different than the rest of the album, in that it is more acoustic and intimate. I would absolutely love to hear this one in a house show type setting. I have always loved Tim Skipper's voice, but "We Were Giants," I feel, is the best representation of how great of a vocalist he truly is. The song is a plea for someone to stay and hold on to what they had, because he still believes they still have it. The song is a perfect segue into "The Cop," slowing it down perfectly to go into a purely acoustic song with interesting production. I have heard complaints lately of bands overproducing albums, which there may be some validity to that, but "The Cop" seems to take it back to the times when songs sounded less than perfect. The song was supposed to sound a little more old-fashioned, in which the band greatly succeeded.
I instantly fell in love with the instrumentals on "Comfort Trap;" in fact, I just love the whole song. I get it stuck in my head every time I listen to it, and it will usually stay in my head for like the next 24 hours it seems. The song is super catchy, and the lyrics - like all other HOH songs - are stellar. Skipper talks about getting to comfortable with what he has in life and telling God that He could wait, and he realizes he is stuck in this horrible trap. The first and only single form the album, "Touch This Light," follows that up with easily another favorite of mine off the album. The song is equally as catchy as "Comfort Trap," but it really speeds the album up and brings it back to the pace we left off with on "Remember the Empire." The single is what revived my love for the band, and it should be able to make a fan out of anyone.
"Angels of Night" is that song on the album that I think may have made me realize just how good this band truly is. The style of the song is unlike the rest of the album, which seem to be the theme of Cold Hard Want. The track is not one of my top favorites on the record, but after listening to this song for the first time, something just hit me and me realize just how well the band does everything. I would highly recommend looking up the lyrics to this song and just reading through them, even without the song playing in the background. Just read them. The lyrics are so well written and are the greatest representation of just how great of a lyricist Skipper is. "Stay" continues with the slower pace that "Angels of Night" started again. The song is pretty good as far as instrumentals, lyrics, and vocals go, but it is not one of my top tracks on the CD.
"Suspect" is another one of those interesting songs on Cold Hard Want that just really made me fall in love with the band all over again. The instrumentals are a little more technical and techno-ish during the verses, and the lyrics take me back to those old secret agent movies I used to love to watch. Who am I kidding? I still love to watch those movies - just last night I watched an old James Bond movie! "Suspect" is easily the best song in the later portion of the album. "Curtains" then continues in the strange intro tracks that segues into the final song, "I Am a Symbol." The song is a perfect mixture of everything that makes House of Heroes great, from stellar lyrics to great instrumentals to strong vocals on the part of Tim Skipper. The best line in the song, by far, is "One voice in the crowd is small, but if he speaks the truth, then he speaks for all, all of us." I love the song, and it is a perfect way to end a perfect album.
I am very skeptical of ever giving perfect ratings to albums, which is why I rarely give them out. Most albums that I review, I will pour over and scrutinize everything possible to get a good picture of how everything sounds, which I did with Cold Hard Want as well. I seriously can find no flaws in this album; House of Heroes did absolutely nothing wrong on the record. Every time I listen to it I fall more and more in love with it, and each time I find something new that makes me love it even more. I went into this album hoping for a solid release from the band, and they more than delivered. They released, what is right now, the top album of the year. I guess we will have to wait and see if any album can top Cold Hard Want, but man is it going to be hard to do.
Favorite Song: Out My Way
- A Man Who's Not Afraid
- Out My Way
- Dance (Blow It All Away)
- Remember the Empire
- We Were Giants
- The Cop
- Comfort Trap
- Touch This Light
- Angels of Night
- I Am a Symbol