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4 stars Very entertaining and surprising music. I hear Echolyn, Hands, Zappa and some French TV. How nice they keep the listener in mind as they experiment. All too little music survived from this fun and talented group. This is the better of the two albums.
Report this review (#3515)
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first However cd is a real gem. Maybe one of the few prog release of the eighties that stands still the weight of time. One might try to find parallels to other progressive acts. Happy the Man is maybe what comes in mind at first, and i can admit it. But they are far more complex while even more melodic and efficient than Hands or French TV wich tend to crawl down in their mumblings. In my humble opinion, it's more appropriate to think about a band like Steely Dan. A great diversity in harmonics, an exquisite taste in the arrangements, wich goes from saxophone to marimba. Maybe "Sudden Dusk" is what Maxophone could have done in the eighties if they've survived and were born american. A great soulful album that i warmthly recommend you. But still, you do what you want to. However...
Report this review (#3516)
Posted Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars However never received a proper support from the music industry nor a proper recording contract - just one of those myriad of capital sins committed against good prog music. That explains the fact that this album is basically a collection of tracks written through the mid 1970s through 1981, and recorded in 1980-1981: so, eventually these victims of oblivion managed to get their material out in the market as a testimony of their musical genius. Bassist/keyboardist Peter Princiotto appears to be the band's leader, since he writes most of the material comprised here, and is usually the busiest instrumentalist; but this is not someone's band, but a well-oiled ensemble that functions fluidly as a unit, with a clear sense of purpose and unhidden enthusiasm. The absolute proficiency shown in the guitar and reed solos, together with the exquisite precision of the rhythm section, make this repertoire attractive despite its intricacy and somewhat recurrent inclusion of dissonance and challenging counterpoints. Main influences are Gentle Giant, early Henry Cow, 72-74 Zappa, and Hatfield & the North; there's also an exquisite flavor at times similar to that of Happy the Man. But at the end of the day, the thing is that However's sound is not merely a melting pot of foreign ideas, since it is clear that the band achieves their own voice. The opening cut 'It's Good Fun' is precisely good fun, both appealing and complex, if only a bit too short - it could have gone places had it been developed further. Anyway, it's catchy enough to keep the listener alert to what's yet to come. After the brief interlude 'Hardt', 'In the Aisles' brings back the funny vibe and keeps it working on. 'Louise Sitting on a Chair' stands out as a captivating piece of beautiful music wrapped under a delicate veil of solemnity - oh, that piano, and that soprano sax,.. and those subtle touches on bass guitar and cello... just like a siesta in the realms of a peaceful universe. This same calm beauty will be later refurbished in the acoustic guitar duet titled 'In the Midst of Making', a piece of dreamy moods that also features mesmeric soprano sax flourishes and soft singing. 'Beese' and 'No Cows' show the band at their most aggressive and dissonant, something like a compromise between jazz-rock and Canterbury style with a RIO-esque twist: these are the tracks where all musicians' virtuosity meets its most challenging expression, which is obviously due to the dearly complex nature of the writing and arranging processes. On the other hand, the title track is constructed as a Frippian guitar soundscape supported by somber synth layers and mysterious nuances of fuzz guitar, fretless bass, recorder and sax. The result is really disturbing, despite its reflective mood (as opposed to scary). 'Lamplight' and 'Trees for the Forest' are the jazziest numbers in the album, while 'Grandfather Was the Driver' is a very Zappa-esque combination of country and Eastern exotic stuff. It's a shame that this repertoire, as amazing and splendorous as it is, has been so overlooked for so long: thanks to the CD technology, there is a chance that "Sudden Dusk" may be acknowledged by progheads all over the world as what it is - a musical testimony of pure excellence. This a real unique prog masterpiece: However is USA prog at its very best!!
Report this review (#3517)
Posted Friday, November 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very original sounding band. One of the true greats of the US prog bands. Their second album is not in the same vein so watch out ! This is complex yet accesible prog rock with all the usual elements of a great prog rock band: lots of tempo changes, harmonic and melodic thought-out parts, great solos and good vocals (though this is mostly instrumental). Some of the greats might come to mind (Happy thhe man and Gentle Giant) but the overall sound and the vision is totally However's. Get it before it dissapears!!
Report this review (#35906)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you love many pieces of the big 7* that invented real prog and also Hatfield a.t.N./N.Health and Happy the Man, try to get this one! You'll have much fun. Superb and diverse compositions, great ensemble playing ( the few soli ... OK, only 3 Stars). 'However' must have rehearsed sufficiently to play all this so fluently, very good sound/production ... Their own(!) style mostly could be placed - if necessary - somewhere in a pentagon formed by VdGraaf, GGiant, Hatfield, Happy the Man and Yezda Urfa. (*KC, Yes, Gabriel-Genesis, ELP, GG, VdGG, JT)

Perhaps the music (solos) is not completely 5 Stars. However 'However' are so unknown, so unsusual ... and Sudden Dusk is by far better than their second and last album, so ...

Report this review (#79455)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars An unheard of American East Coast group that soldiered on through most of the 70's without recording contract, and when they finally did record an album, the era had hanged and the album never stood a chance. This multi-instrumentalist quartet was anything but also-rans, judging from their debut album, which consists of tracks written as far back as 74, but all recorded in the winter of 81. These guys are impressive musicians developing a complex but accessible prog that can qualify between RIO and Canterbury, with some Avant-prog twists. There are many bangs that comes to mind when listening to this album, from Zappa, to National Health, Univers Zero or Present, Gentle Giant etc.. But the group seems to be lead by bassist keyboardist PM Prince, the principal composer, but there are many guests as well.

Mostly instrumental tracks (only 4 of 11 have extended lyrics, many more just short verse scattered here and there), such as the second part of the opening track (almost ripped off from GG) or the short but amazing In The Aisles strongly UZ-influenced. The next track Louise is a superb piano instrumental piece with a sax, but feels a bit like filler material. Things really get started with the lengthier Beese, where the Kent-esque spirit really peeks: we are close to the weirdest and craziest of Hatfield, Egg, GG, early- Hillage and early-Hackett. This track is brilliant and one of the highlights of the album. However (the preposition), the title track is much harder to get into and veers towards RIO in the Art Bears or French TV mode. Lamplight is definitely more in the Moerlen- Hillage realm, while Grandfather Was The Driver is again between Canterbury silliness and RIO strangeness. Although a slow starter, Trees For The Forest is one of the two centerpieces of the album slowly driving you from woodland ambiances to crescendo- ing sax and dry guitars mid-tempo abrupt mid-section to return to the original woodland calmness. Midst Of Making is again very close to GG, especially in the vocal delivery but not just that. The closing No Cows is a mix of GG crossed with Henry Cow (and some inevitable UZ-like bassoon in the intro), but it could easily fit in Power & Glory or Freehand albums. Overall this is one of the better GG-cloned album with Et Cetera and both much better than Epidermis.

However, the group (I mean the group However >> betcha you didn't expect this easy pun, right? ;-) managed to survive until the latter 80's as another record (never seen or heard) was released then. In the meanwhile, this "debut" is one of the better things coming out of the dreaded decade. Almost essential (but a bit too derivative, mainly from GG, to really be awesome), but well worth your investigations.

Report this review (#121466)
Posted Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Do not get fooled by the year of this album release,as anyone who will be willimg to seek this album will face a unique progressive experience.Virginia-based US group HOWEVER got together around 1977 under the forces of Bill Kotapish,Peter Princiotto and Bobby Read in McLean,who had met together a few years ago,being members of other local groups.Don Berkemeyer and Pete's brother Joe would soon join and the band performed its first concert at the McLean Community Center a year later.From that point HOWEVER played in several shows and in 1981 they recorded their debut ''Sudden dusk'' ,with various former members and guests helpin out, and released it in December on Random Radar.The album was re-issued about 12 years later on CD by Kinesis with an extra track.

This a true obscurity regarding its style and overall performance,but the album is highly original,inventive and adventuruous.HOWEVER are sitting on the borderline between an eclectic jazzy music and dark RIO/Chamber Rock.Instruments come and go from track to track,thus the listener will meet changing styles all the time.Add to this weird approach tons of GENTLE GIANT-ish multi-vocal parts to close the band's debut profile.

Tracks are rather short,but this won't prevent HOWEVER to blend strong saxes,clarinets,flutes and even some glockenspiel with light pianos and atmospheric synths in an inventive music adventure.Guitars are very distinctive,on the other side though the bass work is really strong and heavy throughout the whole album.Some good melodies are present as well,guided by piano,saxes and a few electric solos to soften things up.But this is just an exception you will figure out,once you face some really dark,almost cosmic introductions,for which the wind section,the synths and the heavy basses are responsible.The most energetic parts of the album come like a cross between Canterbury-Fusion and HAPPY THE MAN's influence,with a super-solid rhythm section covering Bobby Read's multi-work and Peter Princiotto's keys.What is of great surprise is how the hell these guys deliver so many ever-changing ideas in a so limited time,as most of the tracks' running times are under 5 or six minutes.Really impressive and fantastic.

Seems that God shared a huge amount of talent with more than generosity with this band.What you should really do is seek for this album and then sit on a chair and listen to their magnificent debut with all your senses.Among the best US releases ever and a lot more than a Progressive/Jazz Rock release.This is pure art my friends.

Report this review (#275070)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars HOWEVER were an American band from the Washington DC area who played an Avant / Canterbury style of music bringing to mind THE MUFFINS and even GENTLE GIANT at times. Man i've really enjoyed this album and find it hard to believe that i've never heard of these guys before.They need to be heard.You just have to look at all the instruments that are used to know your in for something special. Bassoon, sax, clarinet, marimba and on and on, even some instruments I haven't heard of before. And this was released in 1981 !

"It's Good Fun" opens with gentle guitar then it kicks in quickly. Some off-centred vocals too (haha). Instrumentally this is amazing. Lots of horns. More brief vocals then some ripping guitar 3 minutes in. "Hardt" is where they slow it down,it's melancholic too. "In The Aisles" features vocals and a fairly heavy sound. I like the avant guitar that grinds away before 1 1/2 minutes. "Louise Sitting In A Chair" is sax and piano led and is quite beautiful. "Beese" is a funny tune lyrically. Spoken words to open as the bees arrive and soon drown out the talking man. Ominous drums take over before vocals and a full sound kick in. Vibes and piano are prominant at times. Experimental after 3 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in.

"Sudden Dusk" is dark and eerie as sounds come and go. "Lamplight" has so much going on, just a collage of sounds. "Grandfather Was The Driver" is a funny track lyrically as well. "Trees For The Forest" is kind of spacey to start then it picks up before 2 minutes with sax, drums and other sounds. The tempo and mood continue to change. "In The Midst Of Making" opens with relaxed guitar and sax. The vocals a minute in are reserved. Waves end it.

This was a lot of fun and very impressive at the same time. Easily 4 stars.

Report this review (#282780)
Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
4 stars However is a North American band that released two albums in the early 80's. Sudden Dusk (1981) being the first one.

This is one of the few bands I know that has really Frank Zappa's influence. You add to it a little bit of Jazz (of course) and a little bit of Symphonic Progressive Rock and voila, you have a great record in your hands.

Interesting to notice that despite the fact of being released in 1981 you will not find the 80's amateurish and horrible sounds of that decade in this album, which is a relief for me.

Want some fresh air? Try a However!

Report this review (#768735)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars HOWEVER was an East Coast band that combined some Canterbury sounds with RIO, similar to bands like early Gong, Henry Cow, Egg, some National Health and even a bit of Soft Machine. They are also compared frequently to Frank Zappa (especially the dissonant vocals) and another East Coast band, Happy The Man. Personally, I feel that HTM is the closest comparison - there is certainly a wide array of these various influences driving this music, from the compositional style to the instruments used (more woodwinds than most rock).

"Sudden Dusk" is very experimental and diverse, and will reward the earnest listener with some very interesting and original songs; it ain't exactly an easy listen, though. There are some "weird" moments sprinkled here and there, along with some near-ambient passages. But the primary core of this music is that HTM sound - kind of keyboard/jazz-rock, if you will. Of the 49 minutes of music on this cd, half of the songs contain vocals. It looks like there are four band members proper, although they list 5 additional musicians, and others who add various odds and ends. The booklet contains 4 black & white pictures of the band, as well as all the lyrics.

I'm a fan of all the U.S. prog bands, so I can easily recommend this band. (Their second cd "Calling" was even more diverse, and nearly as good as this one.) If you've read this far, you already know in your heart that this is a cd you'll want to get. Don't look for the show-stopping negative comments here - I hereby dub this cd "worthy". Let's call it 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#2439587)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2020 | Review Permalink

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