Near and Dear (Self-Released)
By: Mark A. Lawrence the IV
Sometimes you really don't understand why you like a certain kind of music, it just hits you and takes hold. That's how it is with Ho-Hum's CD, Near and Dear.
There's something very 80's about this music, in a good way. Maybe it's the playful use of a synthesizer on "Ladyboy," or the vocals of "I'm-A-Waking Up" that has a new age rock band sound to it. Whatever it is, this CD really caught hold of me.
One nice thing about this band is they're not afraid to experiment with their sound. From the crunchy guitar of "Handheld" to the weird mix of the title track. Near and Dear is a great CD with something intriguing waiting behind every song. It all sounds new. Like no one has tried these arrangements before, tricked out the sound in that manner, or sang lyrics worded just that way.
For this it's hard to pinpoint influences or list bands for comparison but there are definite hints towards Talking Heads. In that manner it's refreshing to find an album like Near and Dear, that pushes out on it's own and a band willing to put the thought into making each of these eleven songs stand on their own giving them a new and exciting feeling. Rating: B+