Although this is just a home recorded first EP, Ugly Houses have crafted five songs that can stand up to any of their more established contemporaries within the current “Emo Revival”. Being from an off the beaten path town like Huntsville, AL can’t be helping Ugly Houses out, because Vs. The Infinite Hole is one of the most fully realized debut EPs that I have heard in a long, long time.
It would be easy to say that Ugly Houses are just another band influenced by the guitar noodling of the Kinsella Brothers, but they prove to have a much more wide angle understanding of songwriting. Guitarist/Vocalist Jonathan Shrout, uses one jazzy interlude to set up and flow into another one, then seamlessly transitions to a chugging build up, or a catchy sing along. Likewise, Alex Wright and Phillip Daugherty, round out the power trio tastefully on bass and drums, but with just enough flash and showmanship.
Vocally, Shrout finds a common ground between the yelps of bands like Algernon Cadwallader and the croon of Say Anything. Adding the melodrama of Shrout’s range, to the frequent gang shouts that pepper the album creates a listen that’s far more celebratory than your typical emo. Its music that speaks to the feelings of contentment and maturity that the late 20s can bring. Understanding that there are things in life that can get us down, but there is actually hope. It’s the most fun, and mature that emo has sounded in some time.
The EP can be downloaded free of charge at the Ugly Houses Bandcamp page.