Saturday, December 19, 2009

Honor Role - Album


Label: Merge
Year: 1997

By request, but this one should have been here a long time ago.
This record is a compilation of Honor Role's entire discography sans the first 7" (which I will post at a later date). It includes the two albums, "The Pretty Song" and "Rictus" and some other recordings. Those albums were originally released in 1986 and 1989 respectively.
The band came out of Richmond, Virginia, and evolved from a simple hardcore band into a math rock monolith, eventually disbanding when part of the group wanted to explore heavier, more aggressive music (Butterglove...which I will also post here eventually). More famously though, they went on to be Breadwinner, another math rock masterpiece of a band. Other bands that benefited from Honor Role alumni included; Kepone, Labradford, Ladyfinger, Coral, Pillow Talk, and Dynamic Truths.
Musically, the band blended the straight ahead, vaguely metallic punk of Husker Du, with the wiry art punk of say, Gang Of Four, and the moody introspection of their Dischord neighbors to the north. All in all, this yields particularly impressive results, churning up some alien and moving sounds. I remember not knowing what to make of the "Rictus" album when I first heard it years ago since it didn't have the jarring attacks found on "The Pretty Song" (which was released by Reed Mullin of C.O.C. so you know it's good), or the atonal guitar scratches. I put that record (cassette actually) away for many moons, and didn't hear it again until I was literally throwing away a bunch of tapes out of my car (since tape decks were being phased out), and turns out, surprise, it's a really great record. Slower, and more nuanced, but great.
I'd be curious to hear some one's opinions on how this one who has not heard the band before. Part of me feels that it might not stack up these days, and I'm just remembering it's impact on my impressionable brain 20 years ago. Let me know.

7 comments:

Mr. Cockroach said...

I had the very same experience with the "Rictus" album, I'd like to think this could still stack up these days though...

nonoy said...

I had to pick this record up after hearing john reis say that pen rollings was one of the greatest influences on his early guitar playing several years ago. If anyone is a big fan of drive like jehu or pitchfork i highly suggest listening to this. Listen to "salty tears", "lives of the saints" or "jank" and note the similarities. Awesome band

Novemberer said...

Thanks for this, Rictus was actually my introduction to the band, c/o John Peel's radio show. My vinyl copy's stashed away at my folks', really great to hear it again...

WilliamFlipper said...

I read about them on Manchild... and this is the first time I listen to them... quite good... I`m surprised

manuel said...

Fucking awesome... :O

Bog Wraith said...

Just found this collection at iTunes store and am very impressed with the band. Sorry that this band flew under the radar for me back in the day as I would have enjoyed it just as much then.

Agree with your view on Rictus being somewhat less "aggressive" than Pretty Song, but was for me, just as enjoyable.

I think that Honor Roles' music stands up well to father time & is still fresh & different from much of what has come since.

Wish that they had been together for years and had left us much more of a catalog. Wonderful talented group!

Thanks for the info on the band.

Anonymous said...

Reupp :-)?

 
Designed by mln3 designs & etc.