Race to the Finish
Housman’s Athletes may be, at first, lumped in with the brat pack of mall punks (and they shall remain nameless), however, they’re far more talented and irreverent. No, not irreverent in a childish, shock-value way, but in their courage to toy with genre restrictions. Green Day was slammed for going soft on “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” a decade ago (has it been that long?), and Housman’s Athletes displays a slow, sensitive hand on “Four Cheers for Innocence” without the sentimental baggage. While the song is pretty, the group probably won’t be dissed for becoming wimps, because artistically it flows well. “Fumbling in the Dark” recalls Green Day, too, but I must admit I prefer Housman’s Athletes’ vocal harmonies much better; you get the sense that these lads listen to The Beatles as much as NOFX.
’80s New Wave synthesizers make an appearance here and there, prepping up “Things No One Wants” and “Unrequited” with a slick, toe-tapping back beat. Since the Killers made keyboards cool (and commercially successful) again, they were bound to be included everywhere, even in the roughest of punk acts. Thankfully, Housman’s Athletes doesn’t utilize them in an obviously Killers fashion; they just add frosting to the cake. Hardcore punks will be bruised by “Tired Shoulders” and the wonderfully titled “Feet Dangling and the Color Purple” while the demented “The Country Waltz” will simply have you giggling the whole evening with its fried take on hick music.
Housman’s Athletes: www.housmansathletes.com