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Bottom of the Curve

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Album Review

Here's a rock & roll hint: if you're going to name your band Houston, it's probably a good thing for your band not to actually be from Houston. (These guys are all set on that score; they're from Minneapolis.) Here's another rock & roll hint: if you're going to have two songs on your album called "Dumb Rock 1" and "Dumb Rock 2," you'd better make it as clear as you possibly can that you're being facetious. These guys manage that quite well, except for on tracks like "It's a Shame" and the big, glorious, faux-dumb "Home for the Holidays," on which they sound like they're double-crossing themselves and aiming for dumb, but missing and hitting cool instead. Now, what really is dumb is singer Jeff Halland's unwillingness to commit to diphthongs, or even extended vowels, and thus his tendency to render words like "you" as "you-uh." But man, "Dumb Rock 1" and "Part One" are both spectacular songs, and "Intro" (which comes four tracks into the program, get it?) is one of the best rock instrumentals of the year. The press kit says that Houston is "massive, a bumble bee on growth hormone buzzing into a megaphone nestled against your eardrum." That's close enough. But I'll bet they can do even better than this.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Houston began in Duluth, MN, where guitarist/vocalist Jeff Halland and bassist/vocalist Lane Soderberg first got their start in rock & roll bands. Eventually, the duo moved south to Minneapolis, united with drummer Ian Prince, and began working on the stripped-down indie metal grooves of Houston. Overhead, the trio's self-released debut, appeared in 1999; it was followed by two EPs and a collection of live material. The 2001 full-length Head Like a Road Map was recorded in part by Shiner's Paul Malinowski,...
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Bottom of the Curve, Houston
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