House On Fire

Hembree

Oread Records/Thirty Tigers, 2019

http://www.hembreemusic.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/25/2019

Alright, I’m not gonna lie; I got excited about this band because of their name. One of my defining teachers in high school was named Hembree. What I didn’t expect or anticipate was this band’s overall crappiness. They psych you out on the first track “I Don’t Know Why,” which is a nice straightforward rocker, a great little track that shoots out of the speakers and might make you sit up at attention. And then, you hear the rest of the record…my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Unfortunately, “Culture” is pure junk; it’s all loops and not enough guitars. They started out interesting with heavy amplification, but the rest of the record sounds like Joywave with some amped up background atmospherics. “Right Time” is even worse; it just feels lifeless and doesn’t do much to help this band’s reputation. The band’s approach is interesting. It’s as if they’ve taken elements of what they’ve heard on “rock” radio like Vance Joy, Silversun Pickups, and a little Imagine Dragons and put them all in a blender to elevate their own sound – and not with very great results.

Towards the middle of the disc, things go from bad to worse. Songs like “Continents” and “Almost” are just crap and make you push the skip button quickly to see if the rest of the record is as bad. It’s hard to determine what made these guys think this stuff would be any good to discerning ears. Not all of it is pure garbage, though. “Never See It” almost has a Fitz and the Tantrums vibe to it and is not completely terrible.

But “Symmetry Lines” is where I wanted to smash things. It sounds like a Jamiroquai song circa 1999, damn near disco, and it’s enough to really piss you off. Why does every band want to sound like Maroon 5 or Imagine Dragons? Just because you get millions of streams and downloads does not mean you’ll get respect and adoration. Having actually made it all the way through, I can say that this is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve heard all year and makes me ashamed for getting my hopes up. After listening to crap like this, it makes one happy to hear a real rock band again.

Rating: D

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