House of Fools House of Fools

If I remember correctly, "fools” is a term used for when a prepubescent girl and boy hook-up in a dingy cabin without their counsellors finding out. These 12-year-old boys and girls often devote most of their summer waiting for their name to be added to the "fool wall” with a thick black Sharpie and corresponding mini-pic of just how far the two actually went. Once again, if my memory serves, very rarely does a couple with their names on the "fool wall” ever hook-up again due to extreme awkwardness or the blatant fact that it was simply a fool — no long term heartbreak to write easy rocking guitar ballads to. So it was with great confusion that my ears were met with the emotional piano motif and silky vocals that comprise the simple pop opener "Live and Learn.” As North Carolina’s goodie-two-shoes, the six cats in House of Fools continue to deliver arena-aimed bridges (like the one in the intimate, Coldplay-esque "My Life Before Today”) while adding slight expansion in all the right places, wishing they were as tactful as the Format. "Better Part of Me,” one of the stronger songs out of the five here, features organ and accordion courtesy of the Wallflowers’ Rami Jaffee, which adds a southern spin. However, when it really comes down to it, the music is rich, has a classic air yet also possesses a borderline boring background enhancement. It’s clear these cats were never summer camp attendees, as a late steamy night in a dark corner bottom bunk has nothing to do with heartache or but better yet, lust. And these songs are not lusty. (Drive Thru)