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"Subtlety" is not a concept that one generally expects to be associated with the music of ex-Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments/ex-Great Plains frontman Ron House, but no word more concisely sums up his Obsessed album. Coined a rock opera, Obsessed isn't nearly as pretentious as such a label might imply. Perhaps "concept album" is a more fitting description, as the album's 12 songs very honestly chronicle the demise of a romantic relationship. Casually strummed acoustic guitars are the standard on Obsessed, and while House's former Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments bandmate Robert Petric lends his guitar skills to the album, it is not in the vein of his brilliantly over-the-top Thomas Jefferson metal-head fretwork. It is instead a series of subtle accent lines and tasteful flourishes, just enough to add a needed sheen to House's otherwise almost overly restrained jangle. Petric shines especially brightly on "Seven Years" and "Call Her Up," though one can't help but wish he'd stomp on a distortion pedal and rock out (a guest turn on "Restraining Order" by Moviola's Jerry Dannemiller proves a bit more satisfying). Pretty Mighty Mighty's Noel Sayre, Moviola's Jake Housh, and ex-Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments Ted Hattemer also make appearances. Vocally, House abandons the vitriol that was characteristic of his Thomas Jefferson work and instead offers melodies that are often rather touching (a feat accomplished in the quieter moments of Great Plains, such as "Same Moon"). However, the phrasing remains off-kilter and shaky enough to keep anyone from mistaking this for anything that might be labeled sugary adult contemporary. While his lyrics have always tended toward a more prose-oriented tone than a flowery poetic one, with Obsessed House's musings are more straightforward than usual. Verses are driven by strong narrative lines that read like the scattered pages of an unfinished novel, or misplaced journal entries, rather than rhyme-scheme-obsessed grade-school poetry or self-consciously wry indie hipsterisms. While songs like "Breezewood Serenade," "Fossil," and "Call Her Up" are almost uncomfortably honest, with lyrics like, "Can you call her up for me/And ask one more time/Can I come home?," House occasionally has to break the tension with a bit of dry humor, such as "Puritan Sex" and "Restraining Order." The latter is an ode to, well, restraining orders, which might not be all that amusing except that for some reason he says the word "order" with a strange accent that makes him sound a bit like Linda Richman (perhaps it's intended as a nod to the record's Massachusetts-themed summation, but it still seems out of place). It may take a few spins before the listener can reconcile the notion of the man responsible for writing a song about a prostitute chewing her leg off to escape a bear trap now writing straightforward love-themed songs, but once the initial shock wears off, what you're left with is a disc of catchy, smart, and refreshingly under-played songs that will make the perfect soundtrack to the next night (or week, or month) spent sleeping on a friend's couch after being evicted by your lover. So this is what happens when snide indie rockers grow up? Not bad. Let's hope he beats that Dashboard Confessional kid to a pulp with his lovely acoustic guitar. ~ Karen E. Graves, Rovi


Género: Teatro

Años de actividad: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

As a member of Ohio indie rock bands the Great Plains, Ego Summit, and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Ron House's musical influence is clear. He made an imprint on the Midwestern scene in the 1980s, 1990s, and onward in various forms. House was a member of all five incarnations of the Great Plains, and was the only permanent member of the band besides Matt and Mark Wyatt. The band started in 1983 with the 12" EP Mark, Don & Mel on New Age Records. The quintet never looked back, releasing...
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Obsessed, Ron House
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