The Honorary Title – Anything Else But The Truth / 2004 Doghouse Records / 12 Tracks / http://www.thehonorarytitle.com / http://www.doghouserecords.com / Reviewed 18 September 2004
The Honorary Title play a style of college-rock that is reminiscent of Lucero, Weezer and early Goo Goo Dolls, back before the latter had completely turned into the adult contemporary juggernaut they are currently. The rich mastering of “Anything Else But The Truth” allows for an absurd about of different levels for each individual to find themselves on. If an individual comes into the disc looking for a strong classical music presence, the violins on a track like “Frame By Frame” will slake their thirst. Even if there are a host of extra musicians fill out the sound provided by Jarrod and Aaron, the solid sound of the disc is no doubt thanks to the wonderful dynamic that these two individuals have when working together. Mixing up their sound for “Bridge And Tunnel” to include some of the more popular new-rock stutter given to the collective by a vocalist like Julian (from The Strokes), The Honorary Title make a quick switch to make a very Bright Eyes-influenced track in “Everything I Once Had”. Even farther than that, the melodramatic overtones of the multi-layered vocal assaults does more than pull at a listeners heartstrings – it yanks your damn heart out of your chest and steps on it.
Continuing their strong showing with the slide guitar-infused “Cut Short”, a track that continues the well-received dis-harmonies of the two Titlers. “Points Underneath” brings a slower, Hedwig-sound to the disc just like the much more poppy title track reminds us of the fuzzy shoegazer rock of The Red Hot Valentines and Fountains of Wayne. For a two-person band, The Honorary Title can go in a myriad of different directions musically, with each track showing a different facet of the act. Even when The Honorary Title starts to go towards the same general sound later in the disc, with another hyper-emotional, slide guitar-led ballad, the quality level of the track is still beyond 99% of what currently is out.
“Anything Else But The Truth” even uses a fuzz that would be considered weak mastering on any other album to create a more intimate sound during the earthy-bass led “Snow Day”. The Honorary Title may have a wonderful dynamic on their studio time, but the big question that is raised is whether the live musicians they bring on a tour will be able to re-create the incredible bond that these two musicians have while playing music together.
Top Tracks: Frame By Frame, Cut Short