Sweden goes America and this is not the first time; countless are the cases that […]
By Grigoris Chronis
August 15, 2010
Houston - Houston album cover

Sweden goes America and this is not the first time; countless are the cases that hopeful bands, from this beloved European country, present a style owing a lot - if not everything - to musical ideals harvested upon US soil. This exchange formula has rarely seen the opposite direction taking place and we'd probably justify this due to a) the charisma of Europe breeding new Rock/Metal styles and/or b) the alluring aptness of USA in optimization of virtually everything they have cut their teeth into. HOUSTON is pulverizing 11,000 km of air distance space between Houston, TX, USA and Sweden owing the vast majority of their sound and general acceptance to the major AOR/FM Rock style America had developed when bands like JOURNEY, FOREIGNER and SURVIVOR - to give you an idea - ruled the world. Way back in time, in other words...

The band seems to be featuring only one steady member, vocalist Hampus "Hank" Erix, while the band's (?) MySpace page refers to some Freddie Allen as the drummer, too. Starting off with the accurate info we have, let's say Hampus has a velvet warm voice with not much of power or octave range as benefits, but surely boasting endless dozes of melody and minor scale sensational mid-range notes. If you think he can sound 'pop' at times, then...yes, he can; he has a great accent, too. This goes along with the musical background, of course. The origin of HOUSTON's style pre-mentioned, let's just remind of the dominant keys parts in such songs, the absence of fast rockin' parts and the kingship of love themes in the lyrics sector. The guitars role shines in the lead parts but the rhythm pieces try to sneak in vein throughout the whole tracklist. One thing that is not that impressive is to see limited rhythm guitar portions in a Rock album but this could be give the go-by if the keyboards' sound was more powerful and shining (this happens in more than half the CD's numbers). It's not something the fresh ear shall notice but it kinda proves to be a drawback since the majority of the songs are interesting compositions that successfully bring on the aura of the 80s American Rock music if feelings and innocence. Not to forget, the Press release mentions valuable help was given to the band by known names n the melodic Rock business such as Tommy Denander (

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career), Tomas Vikström (bio) and Mats Olausson (Wikipedia reference), hence we have a first clue regarding the songs' quality.

By solidifying their lineup and taking care of the sound, HOUSTON has a good chance winning a fair amount of new fans with their melodic FM/AOR/West Coast music. The production (drums and some of the keys, in particular, with the bony guitars mix) is kinda average and does not give enough credit to the songs' value, I feel confident though I'll be spending again some time with HOUSTON in the future and have their name noted somewhere until next time

6 / 10

Had Potential

"Houston" Track-listing:
  1. Pride
  2. Truth Slips
  3. Hold On
  4. I'm Alive
  5. One Chance
  6. Give Me Back My Heart
  7. Misery
  8. She's A Mystery
  9. Now
  10. 1000 Songs
Houston Lineup:

Hampus "Hank" Erix - Vocals
Freddie Allen - Drums

Live Musicians:
Erik Jansson, Joakim Söderström, Lasse Falck, Dennis Bender

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