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Album Review

Album, the complete collection of Honor Role's work, excels more in concept than execution. Nearly every one of the 26 cuts features the same formula: monotone half-spoken vocals, a simple backbeat, piercing guitar, and non-existent basslines. Considering how early some of this work is (the first selections were recorded in March of 1983) allows some excuse for why much of it is unlistenable. Some songs ("Following Footprints" and "Skippy") sound like bad Spinal Tap covers, macho drones with lyrics that are equally engaging. But, as the retrospective progresses so does Honor Role's sound. The later stuff is reminiscent of Husker Du, Squirrel Bait, Big Black, and the Replacements. Fortunately the vocal duties are taken over by Bob Schick around 1985, which provides some relief since his spoken lines contain at least some tonality. Ultimately Honor Role will be a band remembered only through its influence. The emo sound and the Chicago hardcore scene emerged in part from their recordings. The vocal stylings and brash atonal drone can be heard on Slint's first record, as well as in most of Jawbox's catalog. In retrospect, it is hard to imagine anyone being blown away by songs this primitive, but at the time their sound was rawer and more daring than anyone else's on the East Coast.

Biography

Formed: 1983

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

Inspired by the hardcore explosion of the early '80s, Richmond, VA's Honor Role formed in 1983 as a run-of-the-mill punk trio but quickly grew into a distinctive quartet that twisted out bleak, inventive post-punk. Sadly, they...
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Album, Honor Role
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