Household Names: Stories, No Names

Household Names from Austin, TX, sound like your everyday indie rock band with charming keyboards and timid vocals. With Casio drumbeats, they have a Postal Service feel, but they also sound like Gin Blossoms because they can’t put down the tambourine or stop over harmonizing.

Stories, No Names is a promising album with trumpets and organs sneaking in the background of the songs, but as a whole, it doesn’t work. “Every Third Time” has a ‘90s alternative radio feel to it with its happy vocals. Singer Jason Garcia seesaws from flowery harmonies to crooning indie rock ballads throughout the album. “Firefly” sounds like an Elliott Smith song with its multi-tracked vocals and acoustic guitar. The echoing toy piano on the track adds some cheer to the maudlin melody. The band does a random cover of XTC’s “Making Plans For Nigel,” which sounds exactly like the 1979 hit, but the loud twisty synth doesn’t fit in at all with the softness of the album. Identity crisis!

Stories, No Names isn’t an amazing or bad album. The songs are generic, and it’s disappointing when the only song that does stand out is a cover. It’s cool that Household Names jump around with their sound, I just wish they’d have a consistent one instead of sounding like different bands from one track to another. The band takes bits and pieces from successful artists and end up putting out a bunch of different radio singles on an album instead of having smooth transitions and some sort of way to pull it all together.

In A Word: Woe