Key Track: “Everest”
All hail the Midwestern emo scene, it seems to produce winner after winner. The same goes for House Olympics, a new group with a decidedly heavier influence from Bloomington, Indiana. The band takes it’s influence from emo’s more punk roots, opting for heavier vocals and more straightforward guitar volume but keeping the genre’s poetic lyrics. Their first release, the “…And My Mind is Restless” EP is four songs of angry music and mixed emotions, all of which feels purposefully unresolved.
As with many emo bands, the band – TJ on guitar and a pair of Adams on drums and bass, with all singing – makes an effort on unique song titles. The opener, “Get #rekt Steve Jobs,” is instrumental, but sets the tone with a forceful rhythm that builds upon itself, to drum up intensity going into the first proper song, “Tossing, Turning, Treading.” “Tossing” is equally forceful, at least at first, with some strained, screamed vocals and the punk-emo blend at it’s strongest. But the song takes time for an extended breakdown, so it isn’t just a blast of energy.
“Everest” is a more lyric-based song, with clearer vocals and lyrics about going to great and sometimes violently emotional lengths to figure out your personal issues, without any resolve. “I would be willing / To get hit by a car / Just to knock the sense back into me.” The lyrics are pretty typical of emo – introspective and sad, rough and filled with questions that don’t have answers. It’s the EP’s most emo-based song, and possibly the best song. The finale “Super Smashed Bros” (another great title), meanwhile, is a more punk-based song, with a deceivingly emo rhythm played over some distant-sounding drums, until the song builds into a long and grinding climax. Layered vocals and a crunching guitar add to what becomes a dense and loud finale, a little unsuspecting at the beginning of the song. Despite only being four songs, House Olympics manage to give their EP a strong intro and outro.
House Olympics benefit from having all three members sing – their different voices are noticed throughout the EP. Where the vocals are particularly throaty in “Tossing,” they’re sometimes clear and even spoken in “Everest.” This, alongside the punk/emo mix, helps the four songs to stay unique from each other, while maintaining a cohesive sound for the young band. “…And My Mind is Restless” is a promising release, as House Olympics are able to develop their own sound without rehashing what their predecessors have done. It’s within the realms of emo and punk, but isn’t truly either. It’s loud and emotional, and properly conflicted in both it’s tone and it’s themes.
The album can be streamed and downloaded here.
-By Andrew McNally