John Huss Moderate Combo
Reviewed on this page:
John Huss is friends with both Alroy and Wilson, but don't hold that against him. He writes incredibly funny songs, often dealing with intellectual concerns and frequently with a deeper comment on the human condition thrown in. The music is basically good old fashioned folk/roots rock, and his vocals are equally unpretentious. After several independently released cassettes that mostly featured Huss solo and acoustic, he's pursuing fame and fortune with the John Huss Moderate Combo, a straightforward rock and roll rhythm section (John Greenfield, bass; J. Niimi, drums).
Few things in life are both thought- and laugh-provoking, but Huss manages that consistently on such tunes as "Millenium," "Suburbilly," "Tire Tool," and "Dad Sold His Sax." Greenfield and Niimi are game and nimble but don't add much excitement; on "Office Work," they steamroller what had been a pretty acoustic folk piece. They shine, though, on the nightclub bluesy "How Can You Say There's No God When The World Is So Bent," and on several laid-back, edgy instrumentals ("Juan Campoverde," with Huss on electric sitar, is my favorite) - thanks to the trio format, the record's never in danger of falling into a rut. Added as bonus tracks are a couple of songs from the feature film Huss co-wrote: "Use Your Head" (the film's title) featuring Dana Colley, and "Go." They're both hilarious rockers, among the best cuts on the album. My biggest complaint is that Huss has so many great songs he left off the disc: "Let Me Be Your Project," "Nerd Love," "Lapland," "I'm Not Picky." He says his earlier cassette releases were stopgaps that are now outmoded, but I'd sure pick up a copy of Pie Aren't Squared if I came across one. Hopefully Huss will include some of that material on his next release. (DBW)
Goddamnit, use your head.