Exposé Online banner

Huis — Neither in Heaven
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5093, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-09-30

Neither in Heaven Cover art

It seems that reviewing Huis is an occasion to dust off the Old Prog Geek hat and think back on things decades past. Some readers will remember the advent of what came to be called Neo-Prog (Marillion, IQ, Jadis, and legions of others), and remember how the community of prog fans was somewhat divided over the merits of the new style. On the one hand, the new bands were seen as pale imitators of the genre’s innovators of the 70s; on the other hand, many of the bands were more sophisticated than the general run of bands of the time, and welcome for at least trying. And, to be fair, Neo-Prog is no different than any other genre of music: there’s good and bad in it. I’m not going to try to solve the question of where Huis fits as far as the sub-genres of progressive rock, though I’d say they lean at least as much to the neo side as the classic (“retro”) side. The musicianship is of a consistently high level from all involved, with high marks for technique for both keyboards and guitars, and a solid rhythm section that provides variety but few real surprises. The vocals are expressive and on key, with some lovely massed harmonies. To a certain extent, this seems to be a case where the desire for perfection trumps expression. I wouldn’t say the performances are soulless, but everything is too perfect for my taste. One of the factors that made Nursery Cryme (to pick a random example) so great is that the performances aren’t perfect — there are rough edges. In particular, the guitar playing seems to rely on patches that sound like the majority of rock records recorded in the last 20 years. It’s preset number 12 on the amp-modeling multi-effects unit (or whatever). What made Steve Hackett’s guitar shine with Genesis was the fact that, completely apart from his note choices, he had a distinctive tone. I’m trying not to be too negative, because Huis has produced a great-sounding set of music here, with tunes stretching up to 13 minutes and not losing steam. Writing a review of something you really love can be a fulfilling experience, and often comes easily; likewise writing about something you really dislike can come easily, though it can be challenging to clearly articulate why you dislike it, which is necessary for the review to be something other than a rant. Then there are those things in the middle, which can be really difficult. This is in the middle. Props for good writing, and for nailing every part without any bum notes, but I can’t help thinking maybe the demos were more exciting.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Huis

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music festival world, and music festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Richie Havens - Nobody Left to Crown – If one hasn't listened to anything new by Richie Havens since the 60s or 70s, perhaps it’s time to listen again. If anything, this latest offering from the respected singer-songwriter is as good as...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues