Dave Hause
Blood Harmony


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sowing STAFF
October 23rd, 2021 | 19 replies


Release Date: 10/22/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Getting out of an album what you put into it

Blood Harmony had me hooked before I heard a single song. Months ago, while perusing upcoming album releases, I noticed the artwork for this Dave Hause album and I immediately warmed up to it. There's something about it that feels homely, as if I'm a kid again running through my parents' old backyard with my brother. I've always had a soft spot for music that appeals to nostalgia, be it emotionally or literally/aesthetically. In this case, one look at Blood Harmony's cover was all I needed to know that somehow, some way, this Dave Hause guy and I would be on a similar wavelength.

Almost serendipitously, it turns out that Hause has a two-and-a-half year old son – two of them actually (twins, eek!) – and I have a son of the same age as well as a newborn. All of this probably sounds pretty circuitous with regard to the album at hand, but I guess the argument I'm hoping to make here – and one that I suppose should pretty much go without saying at this point – is that music is so largely a product of one's unique experiences and perceptions that the quality of music at-hand, provided it's not awful, almost takes a back seat to what the listener wants to extract from the experience. In this case, I was hoping for a pretty cozy record with personal lyrics about either fatherhood or childhood nostalgia; perhaps it's my own biased perceptions talking, but Blood Harmony is an absolute intersection of fate.

Dad life changes a man. So many of the things I cared about three years ago are now long lost dreams, especially trivial items or the pursuit of selfish, time-consuming hobbies. That's why it's so easy to relate to lines like this one from 'Northstar': "Now you are my Northstar / I'm tradin' in my gun and my fast car / For a couple of college fund tip jars." Big lifestyle changes like parenthood also cause you to reflect more than ever, looking back at your own childhood memories – the good, the bad, and if you're truly lucky the magical – and striving to do everything you can to recreate your best memories for your children. That's a chord that immediately struck me on 'Sandy Sheets', a song that recollects moments from Hause's vacations during his youth: "We were wild in the Jersey heat / You had Hey Jealousy on repeat / We’d hide out on the beach." The fact that Hause sounds a lot like Robin Wilson from Gin Blossoms (or that this particular song almost sounds like a shameless emulation of any of the band's songs) isn't lost on me – nor is it on Hause as he name checks the band in the lyrics – but again there's a feeling of mutual overlap as I remember playing that exact song (along with the entire album, Dusted) on repeat during summers growing up in the 90s while also spending a lot of time across New Jersey's many beaches. Plenty of people listened to Gin Blossoms in the 90s and went to the shore, but that's what makes Blood Harmony such an easy album to relate to both lyrically and musically. The record sounds like it was transposed from a simpler time, and in many ways that's comforting – especially when you find yourself in your parents' shoes and wondering where the last thirty years of your life went.

Blood Harmony is sort of an alt-rock album, but it's also got a lot of folk and country influences running through its veins. The predominant acoustics, occasional slide guitar, subtle pianos, and sparsely used strings all give this a rootsy, organic aura that is easy to embrace as emotionally warm/proximal. I'm admittedly not overly familiar with Hause as an artist, so maybe a lot of this is by design and I'm just falling into a marketing trap – but the sincerity of the music and lyrics, which truly seem like they were written with earnestness and love – allow me to lower my guard. The ideas here are far from poetic – just very down-to-Earth, pedestrian messages. The closer, 'Little Wings', sees Hause opting out of leaving behind some sort of immortal life lesson, instead deciding to list the things he's not going to teach his children (a list which includes religiously-driven fear, gender stereotypes, or the idea that parents always have the answer). It's endearing and relatable; an admission that we're all just in this together, equally awestruck by life itself. For not teaching anything specific, that's a pretty damn good lesson.

Don't look to Blood Harmony for a genre-bending experience. It's not innovative or experimental, instead blending 90s Gin Blossoms core (is that a thing? I'm making it one!) with a little bit of singer-songwriter magic and alt-country flair. But I'm not here for the instrumental prowess or the hipster bragging rights. Blood Harmony speaks to my memories of the past as well as my hopes for the future. That's not so bad for judging an album by its cover.



s
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Comments:Add a Comment 
onionbubs
October 23rd 2021


14445 Comments


did not know he even had a new one completely lost tabs on this dude but ill check this out for sure

Digging: Volumes - Happier?

Sowing
Moderator
October 23rd 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the first time I've heard one of his albums lol. He has an album called Bury Me In Philly so I'm assuming he grew up near or in the city just like me, and he has two kids the same age as mine, and sings about the New Jersey shore...just feeling super in sync with him even though I don't know him or his music, this record notwithstanding.

Digging: Converge - Bloodmoon: I

Purpl3Spartan
October 24th 2021


1897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Will check my dude

Digging: Satyr - Locus

hangth3dj
October 24th 2021


241 Comments


Guy's got two full reviews for less than 100 ratings over 5 albums, could well be something going on here.

TheSonomaDude
October 24th 2021


8257 Comments


i'll check this one out

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard of this guy, but great review and this seems up my alley. Will check!

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

By the way, Sowing, you have a soundoff from 2011 about his first album... Doesn't seem like you were much of a fan, so no wonder you don't recall listening to him before.

onionbubs
October 24th 2021


14445 Comments


his old band the loved ones were awesome i jammed them a good bit in high school

Sowing
Moderator
October 24th 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Sunnyvale - That's amazing and hilarious lmao, I do not recall ever listening to him 10 years ago or ever. I'd like to think I was wrong back then, as my tastes have hopefully matured. This is a pretty standard alt rock album but a well executed one at that, interested to see what you think. I doubt everyone will have the emotional connection to it that I do but at worst a feel like it's an above average listen!

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 24th 2021


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers Sowing! Yeah, found it funny as well, no way we can remember every single thing we heard a decade ago. Will let you know what I think once I listen!

Colton
October 26th 2021


13236 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this album cover was AI generated to ensure sowing 4s it before even hearing it

Sowing
Moderator
October 26th 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if so, it worked

anat
October 26th 2021


4432 Comments


I found this to be fairly unoriginal, spinning its wheels in the slushy mixture of overdone mainstream cliches and a lack of variation from song to song (especially towards the latter end). I know some people seemed excited for this but I fail to see how this is anything more (or less) than average popular rock.

Sowing
Moderator
October 26th 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I don't necessarily disagree; my review's overarching sentiment was basically that I found a way to connect personally to the album's nostalgic aura and attach sentimental value to it that may not be a given for the majority of listeners. This isn't one of those albums whose merits I'll vehemently fight for in the thread, just one of those "feels" reviews where maybe someone gets a little something extra out of the music, or maybe they don't :-)

anat
October 27th 2021


4432 Comments


that was your 2011 sound off, I haven’t listened to this yet :-)

Sowing
Moderator
October 27th 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well now, this is just embarrassing at this point!

anat
October 27th 2021


4432 Comments


got eem

Sowing
Moderator
October 27th 2021


39686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's never a good sign when you can unwittingly get baited into arguing with yourself from 10 years ago

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
October 27th 2021


3048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

After a few spins, I think I'm closer to 2021 Sowing's position than 2011 Sowing's...



This is pretty great, well-executed mellow and sentimental songs. Nothing I'll return to too much, but it hits the spot. Also reminds me a bit of Brian Fallon's solo music, which is (mostly) a good thing.



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