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The Huguenots Discography

The Huguenots - Discography
01. Postscript
02. Jefferson High
03. Bent Wreck
04. Sent It Airmail
05. Patient Zero
06. A Kind of Blue Covered the Entire City
07. Yong Pretender
08. 10 Watt Bulb
09. Trance Like
10. A Horde of Bees
11. Postscript
12. A Horde of Bees
13. Sent It Airmail
14. 10 Watt Bulb
15. Patient Zero
16. Misanthropic Surgery
2007 Hydra Head Records

Reviewed by: Rob Parker   //   Published: 2/27/2008

It's pretty rare that I come across any discography releases that manage to seem even halfway essential. The band usually hasn't been around long enough or doesn't have a large enough back catalogue to warrant it. In this case, The Huguenots have been done for years, and even when they called it quits, it's doubtful many people even knew much about the band when they ended things. But when members of a defunct band go on to have a decent amount of success in other bands, slavering fanboys inevitably start digging for the members' back catalogue.

The Huguenots consisted of Kurt Ballou (Converge), Aaron Stuart (Piebald,) Dan Colby (The Explosion/The Never Never) and Matt Oates (The Never Never (formerly)/Angels of Meth.) The band's sound is somewhere between metal, post-hardcore and the spastic art-punk later made popular by The Locust and countless other bands. Considering The Huguenots constituted one of Ballou's first recording endeavours both as a musician and as a producer/sound engineer, it's safe to assume that the fan base attached to Ballou's production work and Converge alone warrant this release.

Accordingly (and perhaps because I consider myself a Converge/Ballou fanboy) I can't help but feel as though Kurt Ballou's guitar work is the highlight of this album. While he has no ambition to be the best guitar player out there, the man definitely knows his way around a fret board, and it's interesting to hear echoes of his work with Converge. (The riffing during "Jefferson High" could easily have found its way onto "Jane Doe," and I had to go listen to the album to make sure it didn't somehow make it in there somewhere.)Plus, any nerds who found themselves all atwitter hearing him play saxophone on Pygmy Lush's "Bitter River" have a treat waiting for them during the lounge-based passage on "Trance Like."

This isn't to say that The Huguenots are simply the Kurt Ballou Show. Dan Colby's drumming and Aaron Stuart's bass work back things up nicely with some intricate patterns that perfectly complement Ballou's constantly shifting riffs. Matt Oates' vocals are decent for the genre; snotty enough to plant one foot in the art-punk world, and aggressive and passionate enough to sound at home during the band's more metal moments. It's in the execution that the band really shines, especially since nowadays pretentious noise-punk bands are a dime a dozen. The dynamics at work within the songwriting do a great job of keeping things from getting too one dimensional, and as much as Ballou's guitar work seems to take center stage, it's not overbearing. There's enough give-and-take within the songs to see that the guys didn't just sit down and try to play their individual parts as fast as possible. It's that sense of craft that differentiates The Huguenots from the rest of the pack.

Bottom Line: It's always touch and go with early recordings from any artist. The Huguenots still feel like a journeyman effort from all those involved, but the end result is still impressive enough to warrant a listen from fans of the members' later projects as well as fans of likeminded noise-punk. The fact that the songwriting employed here has aged so well is impressive in a genre sometimes cluttered with hacks.

nate_   posted 3/3/2008 8:56:45 AM
it still blows me away that practically every comment on this web site is completely superfluous

posted by drew () on 2/28/2008 11:32:16 PM

hmmmmm....so what does that make your comment?
anonymous   posted 2/29/2008 8:24:20 PM
All I see in this review is I I I I I I. Pretentious gay shit. Get new reviewers.
thesandwich_   posted 2/29/2008 4:55:37 PM
played with this band in '96. i still have the demo and 7" classic stuff
bensy_   posted 2/29/2008 12:12:04 PM
The WHOguenots amirite?
drew_   posted 2/28/2008 11:32:16 PM
it still blows me away that practically every comment on this web site is completely superfluous

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