The surfy sounds of Houseproud are perfect for a summer drive at night; the warm air cooling with every strum of the guitar or note that the vocals hit perfectly. Time to think and focus on the message they deliver on Just Choose One, six phenomenal tracks that twist conventions with their cool presence. The mellow quartet plays some pepped up pop on the opening track “Earl Grey, Hot” (a Captain Picard reference, I’ve been told) and “I’m In Love (Not So Much)” with plenty of stories of disenchanted romance and keeping love at an arm’s length.
There are plenty of humorous lyrics scattered in Demi Renault’s excellent vocals (“He’s Mr. Smooth, but he’s not so smooth”) that play like a rope-a-dope; you think you’re gonna get a standard love song? Think again. The honesty in the lyrics and frankly, the “no time for this bullshit” attitude is fantastic and refreshing (see closer “I Don’t Have Time To Be Your Girl”). The goes for the music as well; the last minute of “Brand New Love” starts easy and light before the guitar and drums begin a race back to the chorus (the guitar solo in “Mr. Smooth” falls right back into the vocal harmonies so effortlessly, I’ve been repeating it over and over just shocked at how easy they make these transitions). The drum, guitar, and bass (Ben Justis, Thad Reist, and Billy Skorupski respectively) intro on “I Don’t Have Time To Be Your Girl” is so catchy you won’t be able to control the urge to start bobbing along. And Renault’s singing is so confident you’re just transfixed by every word she says.
I hesitate to call this a break-up album or an anti-love record; maybe it’s better labeled as an anthem for self-preservation and not wasting your time when you’ve got better things to do. These switcheroos, refusals to fall into cliches, and a razor sharp wit make Just Choose One essential listening. And I for one will continue to listen.
Favorite Tracks: “Brand New Love,” “These Words Will Not Soothe You,” & “I Don’t Have Time To Be Your Girl”
Editor’s note: Houseproud plays this Saturday, August 26th, at Frank’s North Star Tavern.