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House of Not: The Walkabout Part III-On the Madness of Crowds
Adventurous quartet House of Not is quite ambitious. A "Progressive Rock Theatre Alternative," the group exemplifies several trademarks of the genre, including telling a grand story through multiple albums and with eclectic, colorful production and writing. With their new album, The Walkabout Part III: On the Madness of Crowds, they touch upon many influences and styles while keeping everything cohesive, unique, and complex. It's a very impressive release.
The story as a whole is titled "The Walkabout of A. Nexter Niode," and it's the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Brian Erikson. The group released the first album about a decade ago, and both previous released received critical acclaim. The overarching concept behind the project is "the journey of a wayfaring rock n' roller – known as 'Nexter'. [He] decides to 'take the trip' when his questions about life are left unanswered by the 'Mainstream' establishment. He heads East intending to meet great men, learn from them, and know his own destiny. En route, he offends a powerful tyrant who will seek Nexter's destruction at nearly any cost. The tyrant's alluring mistress, however, has her own plans for Nexter that include seduction and revenge." As usual with concept albums, the music is more important than the story, and House of Not certainly pack The Walkabout Part III with plenty to enjoy.
While the album is unique enough to have its own identity, in a somewhat intangible way, it feels similar to Pink Floyd's The Wall in overall structure. Opener "Meeting the Piper" is an atmospheric, slow introduction that feels like a mixture between Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" and Led Zeppelin's "In the Light." "Running with the Crowd" is a catchy, funky prog track in the vein of Umphrey's Mcgee. Its riffs and melodies are instantly addicting. "Wishing Well" is a dynamic rocker highlighted by fierce flute playing and majestic harmonies.
The true masterpiece within The Walkabout Part III is the one-two punch of "Was it As Good for You?" and "The Death of Silk." Essentially, histrionic female vocals and the narration of a preacher complement a musical apocalypse. Horns, screeching guitar, F-18 jets, and a kamikaze of other wonderful explosions unite and build to an affective, intense, and remarkable crescendo as one of the central characters dies. It's easily the best section of the album.
Not all of the songs are complex, though; in fact, the majority of tunes feature laid back performances, mellow melodies, and a lot of sublime production. "Man of Faith" is like a lost Queensr˙che ballad, "Une Ile La Lune La Mer" is a brief piano piece, and "Key of G" is a bold track featuring plenty of great performances and instrumentation. Really, it's like House of Not's "Lucky Man."
All in all, The Walkabout Part III is refreshingly diverse, motivated, grandiose, and confident. Except for perhaps "Ded Fred," every song on here is superb, and collectively, they make for quite an intriguing and vast experience. Although some influences are transparent, House of Not proves to be a distinctive enough entity within the genre, and their scope with these albums is certainly commendable. The wait for the next chapter will be a long one for sure.
1. Meeting thePiper
2. Runnin with the Crowd
3. Wishing Well
4. Fastlane Fraulein
6. Ode To Easter Island
7. Une Ile La Lune La Mer
8. Was It as Good For You?
9. The Death of Silk
10. A Beautiful Lie
11. A Secret Told
12. Man of Faith
13. seven long years
14. key of g
15. 1000 buddhas
17. ded fred
19. song seems sung
Added: June 11th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Website
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