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Lots of influences like: Spoon, David Bowie, Soul Live, Gene Kruppa, The Sound Track of Our Lives, Television, Talking Heads, Traffic, Artic Monkeys, Allman Brothers, Kinks, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Floyd Sneed, Stranglers, Weather Report, Fountains of Wayne, Ten Years After, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Buddy Rich, Beatles, Brian Auger, Brian Medeski, Hal Blaine, Jeff Beck, Ravi Shankar, Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McDuff, Little Feat, Neil Young, Police, John Coltrane, Roy Buchanan
In the end it just sounds like:
HüsBand - Original Sound
Album Review by Lorne Behrman
Situation Room brims with smart hooks, biting-but-playfully-barbed societal and political commentary, sophisticated-but-sinewy grooves, and a breezy jazz-pop sensibility that would appeal to new wave fans and fusion fans. Within the songs are little idiomatic motifs like instrumental passages to let the vocals breathe, signature chordal movements, and keyboard and guitar interplay that’s both subtle and dexterous.
HüsBand are a song-oriented band that pay careful attention to musical interplay, keeping the pocket feeling right, and serving the song. Within well-thought out arrangements, the band does sneak in soulful virtuosic playing. The band’s rhythm section—Michael Kerwin vocalist/bassist and Jim Süllivan drums/percussion—are deftly dynamic and soulfully ease through a variety of rhythmic feels, Jim courting the bassist’s every beat, while Mike’s vocals exude a detached coolness that’s soulfully melodic. Keyboardist Amit Chatterjie digs in by conjuring rhythms and passages on piano, Rhodes, and Organ to interplay with guitarist/vox Jonas Carnemark, a potent soloist capable of fleet-fingered bluesy soloing amidst jazz-rock lyrical phrasing.
The band’s pair of singles “Too Big To Fail” and “Family Man” are burning social and political missives. “Too Big To Fail” takes on the puffed-up chest bluster of the Trump-era histrionics with a crisp pop-funk swagger. “Family Man” bubbles along with a Stevie Wonder “Superstition”-like keyboard riffage, and an infectiously loping groove. The tracks “Glisten” and “A Good Editor” showcase the band’s diverse musicality. “Glisten” is unbound arena rock with replete with an epic guitar solo frothing over with bluesy bluster, and “A Good Editor” is a slow-burn jam with searing guitar instrumental passages.
The production on Situation Room is tailormade for audiophiles, pristine and multi-dimensional. The album’s sonic sheen was further enhanced by mastering engineer Scott Hull (Fagan, Davis, Zappa, Sting, Springsteen) and his Masterdisk who readied the release to be issued in high-quality vinyl. Situation Room’s cover art features a gathering of genderless mannequins bunched together in a department store backroom. The image is rife with political overtones and seems to speak to the album’s common themes as true yesterday as they are today.
Song By Song
Welcome to inside the Situation Room where the long player is broken down song by song.
1. Too Big to Fail – This is pop-rock at its most subversive, brimming with telepathic band interplay, and slinky pop-funk riffage. Don’t let the smooth strut of a groove, the pristine harmony vocals, and sharp hooks distract you. The lyrics on “Too Big to Fail” are seething social and political commentary aimed at Trump, Wall Street, and the Banking Crisis. Wiggle your hips while HüsBand call it like they see it.
2. A Good Editor – This moody track breathes with contemplative piano playing, deft and bluesy guitar instrumental passages, and delicate band interplay. The track is full of playfully biting barbs aimed at the lackluster glut of information shoved through social media. One delicious lyric reads: The dictionary’s there for a reason/Make sure you do it well and not good.
3. Aim Low – This is a cleverly-arranged track that opens with a spare groove and slowly eases through some imaginative textural touches, including ambient keys, thick harmony vocals, clean-guitar funk, and a soaring lead guitar workout. The title says it all—it’s a lament for the dumbing down of culture.
4. Out Of The Past – This is a detour into concise 1980s new-wave. The vocals are dreamy and impressionistic, and the song is ambiently textured. Thematically, “Out Of The Past” is about grappling with the humiliation and denial we all endure when looking back on our lives.
5. Family Man – Warped wit and pop-rock hooks abound on “Family Man” which cruises through the suburban nightmare riding high on some balmy, Antônio Carlos Jobim-style chord changes. The wording is cleverly cutting, and the message is stark: people are not always who they appear to be.
6. Dingoes Took My Baby – This jam melds clean-guitar funk verses with snappy jazz-pop singsong choruses. The song describes a nightmarish trek through the outback of the min, as filtered through hazy images of classic Australian cinema.
7. The Further Adventures of Flyspeck and Zweiback – This theatrical song is a 6-minute-plus Frank Zappa-like opus that explores the romance of two superheroes. Here, the juicy narrative is reflected by the band fishtailing through musical motifs and dramatic dynamic shifts.
8. Glisten – This track showcases HüsBand with its foot on the pedal, playing anthemic rock n’ roll replete with fleet-fingered bluesy guitar-solo virtuosity. The song has an epic feel like a modern take on The Who. But unlike most arena rock songs, leave it to HüsBand to wax abstract about the individual’s ego and how it balances within society’s superego.