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House Of Not: The Walkabout Of A Nexter Niode - Part 2 - Sexus

Once upon a time a young man called Nexter embarked on a journey seeking "self-knowledge and experience", and the further he went the more he was able to view the real effects of truth and ideals on society. Among others he met mysterious and alluring Silk, a powerful old hypocrite called "Ol'Phat Fok", and Friedrich, the eccentric fingerpainter of Freak Street.

That was Off The Path, the first part of a story describing Nexter's weird travels and his strange experiences.

In Part 2, Sexus, Nexter returns to steal Silk away from Ol'Phat Fok and escalates the a feud that has developed between them. Ol' Phat Fok reacts by unleashing the "Hypocrite's Curse" on Nexter and his trip, and the lad experiences oppression, cruelty and bondage - and the full breadth of the Hypocrite's Curse has become evident.

Nexter's future travels have already been planned for him by House Of Not, and will be described in parts 3, 4 and 5. A concept album spread across 5 albums is unusual, if not unique, and listeners can track not only the progress of the characters described in the storyline, but also the artistic growth within the band itself. And there's no doubt that House Of Not's music has developed considerably since the release of Part 1. The sound is still partly rooted in Pink Floyd, but far less so than before. In keeping with the events that have befallen Nexter it's heavier and more serious. There's less old fashioned rock and more blues and jazz and it's much more intricate, more 'progressive'. There's also a heavier dependence on vocal choruses. Brian Erikson's voice is a cross between Roger Waters and Mark Knopfler, and he has several backup singers providing a thick vocal tapestry. Award-winning singer Dee Brown's female vocals on "Lady In Waiting" are particularly pleasing. Several songs feature high female vocal backups a la the caterwauling in Floyd's Great Gig In the Sky.

Besides the standard rock ensemble there's sax, harmonica and organ - but it's the songwriting, rather than the sound, that sets this record apart. Sexus will appeal to rock fans with an appreciation of the blues, and the 10-minute "Pipedream" is a long jazz-meets-rock-meets-blues piece driven by a strong bass line, keyboard improvisations, and some wonderfully emotional solos by the fattest sounding guitar you've heard since Gilmour's heyday. "Footnotes/Hurt" is a favorite - a soft, piano driven instrumental piece with truly excellent guitar solos. See if you aren't nodding your head when this one finishes. "State Of The Union" features a satirical state of the union address with bitingly cynical spoken words that may grate on you after multiple spins - which is a pity since the underlying instrumentals are strong, simple and solid. In fact that cynicism permeates several of the songs, and you may uncover a political message by following the lyrics and the tone of many of the tracks.

House Of Not was formed by two Canadians in 2002. A third joined the band recently and 14 guest artists contribute to the rich sound on this record. The band's website provides notes about each song and a multimedia view of the Nexus story, and is a work of art unto itself. On the back side of the CD insert booklet there's a collage of artwork that will - when all 5 have been collected and connected - tell the story of "The Walkabout" in a format that will be what the band calls a "frame-able poster".

Join Nexter on his journey - or is it a trip - and you'll remember what attracted you to progressive music in the first place.

Track Listing:
1. Sťance
2. Voodoo Bitch
3. Whitehouse
4. Lady In Waiting
5. Icons
6. Is That The Best You Can Do?
7. Black Out
8. Footnotes / Hurt
9. State Of The Union
10. Behind The Veil
11. It's Your Mother
12. Secret Garden
13. Pipedream
14. Chase The Dragon

Added: May 9th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: House Of Not's Web Site
Hits: 4666
Language: english

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House Of Not: The Walkabout Of A Nexter Niode - Part 2 - Sexus
Posted by Steve Ambrosius, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-05-09 13:48:29
My Score:

House Of Not's second CD sounds nothing like I expected. The CD cover and packaging have a very metal look to it and I expected immature lyrics and direction, based on the overtly sexual photography throughout the booklet and titles like "Voodoo Bitch". Well, color me surprised. This is a melodic, progressive rock CD that is very accessible with excellent lyrics and storytelling.

This is the second part of the Walkabout story. I never heard the first release, but after listening to Sexus I know I would like it. House Of Not can get funky with songs like "Whitehouse". Other songs smolder, like "Secret Garden". Most songs are soft and hypnotic with touches of Floyd. The guitar work of Ken O'Gorman combines with the many guest musicians to create unique and memorable songs. Almost all songs have a chorus sung by different guests. Special mention should be made to the awesome, jazz tinged "Pipedream". This ten minute epic is going to be a fusion classic.

I have listened to this CD several times now and each time I find something new of interest. Part 2: Sexus is a deep, well thought out, album, both musically and lyrically. This is a CD that will appeal to almost all fans of melodic, driving rock. The funky bass lines keep everything groovin'.

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