The House Band

Groundwork [The House Band/Pacific]

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The first two albums from the House Band, their eponymous first release and Pacific, were only released on the tiny Topic label in Britain. This compilation of the best cuts from both was the one that introduced the band to the rest of the world. The material here is typical of their work, if anything can be said to be typical of a group who meanders through so many musical styles. The House Band appropriate material from all over the world and give it an Irish lilt, most successfully with the opening tune, the Greek taverna favorite "Down by the Lemon Market." The celebratory mood of the first few numbers is broken by the long and bleak "For the Sake of Example," which features Ged Foley's soulful but melancholy singing. In fact, every actual song on the album is depressing and all the instrumentals are joyous, beginning a schizophrenic tendency that continues to puzzle many fans of the House Band. Though the band's later albums were recorded with a slightly different lineup, the strengths and weaknesses of the group were well established at this early phase.

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