SCQ Rating: 80%
“1, 2, 3, 4…”. That simple count, likely the most timeless invitation to rock in all of history, hits yet another touchstone when breathlessly screamed in the opening seconds of Shouts. It inflames the call-to-arms ‘We Only Go’, a jagged guitar-rock song trimmed on the edges with melodic xylophone and vocals that somewhat resemble the sensitive crooning of Arcade Fire’s Win Butler. A thunderous opening for sure, one that rightly foreshadows Shouts’ impulsive but well-honed emotion and volume.
Although tragically obscured by a release date in the year-end clouds of late November, the momentum of Honheehonhee’s debut couldn’t remain under-the-radar for long. ‘A. Is For Animal’, which sports a late 90s Moneen riff but builds on the band’s earnest drama, provides an irresistible single next to ‘Rooftop Archipelagos’’s communal anthem. There’s no denying the Arcade Fire comparisons, which run deep on account of the band’s massive ‘Wake Up’ styled crescendos, but Honheehonhee’s songs thankfully spare the other Montreal-based band’s impenetrable solemnity. Following the radio-ready fare of Shouts’ first half, the quintet really hits their stride, opting for upbeat songs that aren’t too self-conscious or serious. The carefree tempo and spastic vocal delivery on ‘Jump Start My Heart’ match ‘To the Silo’’s smart musicianship in reconstituting the record’s early energy with an off-kilter execution that reminds us that Honheehonhee are on their own unique mission after all. A short but deeply fulfilling rock album that deserves its due, Shouts has both the muscle and tenaciousness to become one of 2012’s sleeper hits.