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Review: The New House’s Want Alone But Help Me

Dear god look at all the bands listed on The New House’s influence corner on MySpace. Like an eager college freshman looking to attract friends on another social networking site, the Tokyo band have piled on artists from a range of various genres, presumably in an effort to show how well versed they are. The band’s debut mini-album Want Alone But Help Me doesn’t sound like 90 percent of the bands listed on that page. The New House don’t sound remotely like Hot Chip, Tool or Why? What acts do they sound like on this album? Let’s go through them.

The Strokes – So, by default, every band The Strokes ever cribbed from and the folks who ripped off The Strokes (er, The Cribs). The New House play guitar-heavy pop so comparisons were inevitable…but those guitars sound straight out of Room On Fire. Check the swaggering riffs of “Pale Boy” or pretty much all of “Wash My Bones.” Nothing wrong with that though, as The New House handle them well and both those songs are great. The best song on this small album, “Path To Freedom,” doesn’t do anything Julian Casablancas and crew haven’t already (save for a military drum stomp), but the results sound so good it doesn’t matter.

The Pixies – The intro to “Kill The House” sounds just like the start of “Debaser,” but all comparisons end their as the song becomes a cowbell-hop number with everything sort of falling into itself at the chorus.

The Monks – Or any band without the benefit of quality recording equipment. Though a far cry from the intentionally off-putting noise of shit gaze music, The New House still could be called a “garage rock” outfit thanks to a certain rawness present on Want Alone But Help Me. “Social Evils and a Potato” demonstrates this best with it’s five-o-clock fuzz shadow. Also largely present on this mini-album are kinda outdated sounding organ noises, like the one running throughout “Pale Boy.”

Orange Juice – The New House might sound a heck of a lot like The Strokes, but they’ve chosen to bypass that group’s kinda scuzzy lyrics for more indie-pop approved lyrics. A glance at the album insert reveals these songs are all about being pretty sad (something not really clear when you listen to the upbeat guitar-pop); by my count, three of these songs are about leaving a city and/or a bar to go somewhere more quiet. “Kill The House” sees the singer telling someone they are “as pretty as a picture.” Album closer “This Is My Story” opening lines go “this is my story/don’t take it too seriously/it’s only my dreams/play the guitar, release a record.” Sounds pretty twee to me!

Want Alone But Help Me does not try to hide it’s influences at all during it’s 17 minute duration. “This Is My Story” even goes out of the way to comment on this, the lead singer saying “you try to write new music/but it’s all been done before/always we will repeat the past” before launching into a chorus of “what is original.” It’s not The New House, but the band does make great guitar pop – none of the six songs on this debut end up misfiring. No New House unique sound emerges from this record, so they’ve got to work on that, but this is a great start for a young band who have studied up.