Band Website: www.huisband.com
Label: Unicorn Records
Label Website: www.unicorndigital.com
Release Date: 2013
People who travel get inspired by their adventures for many things. It could be writing or painting or even dieting, but how about forming a progressive rock band? That’s the origin story for the French Canadian band Huis created after what was called an “inspiring” trip to the Netherlands. Originally formed by the duo of Pascal LaPierre (keyboards) and Michel Joncas (bass) in 2008, the band eventually blossomed with the addition of William Regnier (drums), Sylvain Descoteaux (vocals) and lastly taking time out of record label management and his band Mystery, Michel St-Pere (guitars). The music on the disc falls very nicely in the modern symphonic prog category.
Despite Guardian Angels features a full 72-minutes of classic sounds. Riffs reminiscent of bands such as Genesis are buried deep within the eleven compositions some as long as nine-minutes and others as short as the three-minute instrumental “Haunted Nights” [3:00]. The whole thing starts off with “Beyond the Amstel” [8:38] featuring a soft and slow piano introduction that fades in, then at the 1:15 mark the piano forms an introduction arpeggio that is paired with a guitar line until everyone comes in just before the two minute mark. For the next while a core melody is performed until at the 3:00 mark everything stops to become a syncopated riff reminiscent of a segment from Suppers Ready, which is peppered by a buzzing synth lines or guitars. That forms the musical foundation for the vocals until the 7:00 mark where everything turns a little more up-tempo, once again featuring some blazing synth lines and harmonized vocals sung in anthemic fashion. It’s a grand introduction to the remaining numbers. The music never gets overly heavy instead it delivers melodic acoustic guitars counterpointed with electric all balanced with keyboards layered in with equal measure. Each composition brings together a plethora of classic modern symphonic prog sounds.
The Genesis and Pink Floyd vibe runs strong in Despite Guardian Angels but I don’t find that in the least bit disappointing or distracting because the musicianship here is strong and Huis are easily able to put their own stamp on the musical motifs they incorporate. The sounds are “reminiscent” rather than in any way “imitative.” This is a very fine debut and I would highly recommend Huis to fans of symphonic prog. If you enjoy the music of bands such as Spock’s Beard or RPWL this will be right up your alley. It’s really good stuff!