Huis — Despite Guardian Angels
(Unicorn Digital UNCR5088, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-06-13Huis brings to mind once again the question of "originality" as a virtue in music. I put the word in quotes because, while it may seem to be an ordinary word with a meaning that's understood, in this context at least there are several interpretations. In the sense that no one has ever put these notes together with these words, Despite Guardian Angels is original; stylistically... not so much. Huis is solidly in the classic prog camp, leaning towards neo-prog. You'll hear bits reminiscent of Genesis, Camel, and any number of the later generation like Marillion and IQ. But stylistic innovation isn't required for enjoyment, and it's better to judge the band on the other merits of their work. They are skilled players, and the music has both intellectual and emotional appeal. Singer Sylvain Descôteaux in particular gets high marks, with a warm and attractive voice. Keyboards, both vintage and modern, dominate, with solid contributions on guitar and in the rhythm section. There are quiet meditative passages providing room to breathe in between the louder numbers, and a good sense of flow and dynamics throughout. With my general preference toward the avant side of prog, melodic bands like Huis have an uphill battle to win me over, and while my initial impression was not so positive, they won me over in the end. In the future I hope they move beyond the occasional overtly Genesis-like sounds, but this is an excellent start, and deserves a place with fans of this side of the prog spectrum.
Related artist(s): Huis
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more