Wednesday, April 22, 2015

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.

*Originally posted 12.19.09, reposted 07.28.12, reposted for the final time 04-22-15


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