ARTIST: DAVE HAUSE
LABEL: RISE RECORDS
WORDS: KEVIN FLINN
American singer-songwriter Dave Hause has had an illustrious career. Getting his start in various punk and hardcore bands around Philadelphia, Hause has made a lasting impression over the last twenty plus years. Now with his fourth studio album, ‘Kick’, having been recently released, Hause has created a collection of tracks that balance nostalgia with a fresh take all while backed by an emotionally driven narrative over the course of its ten song listing.
Hause’s solo work is a departure from his previous endeavors. While he grew up in the punk scene, his latest work is more akin to the likes of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. Blending americana lyricism with a pop-rock sound, ‘Kick’ is nostalgic, in the sense of his songwriting and sound that bands in the same genre from the 80’s and 90’s had. His vocals evoke a blue collar styling, no doubt attributed to his Philadelphia upbringing. All of it adding into that nostalgic factor of his music.
“a collection of tracks that balance nostalgia with a fresh take all while backed by an emotionally driven narrative.”
This can immediately be heard in the opening track ‘Eye, Aye, I’. A reminiscent song, Hause fills the over three minute run time with lyrics that are an ode to his past, and a reflection on the present. “I used to fan myself with the flames of discontent to fight the cold. I used to spit it right back in their face, now I do what I’m told. I used to be bold.”, belts Hause during the subsequent choruses of the song. Remembering his rebellious youth with the angst and defiance that came with it.
While the main theme of the record of reflection and nostalgia permeate throughout the album’s run time, there are other themes as well. Mental health, a theme we see popping up more and more in music, makes an appearance here. In the lead single, “The Ditch”, Hause sings, “If I can’t make it out of this ditch, I better make a home of it.” Hause, along with his brother Tim, approach the topic of mental health full on. Knowing very well that it’s often a delicate topic to speak on, they take a more lighthearted approach. Understanding that it’s a part of them, but accepting it and controlling the situation it presents. Much like the old adage goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
“Never shying away from delicate and complicated topics, Hause tackles them head on with a rather optimistic sound.”
Hause has talked a bit before on his website how his approach to music has changed over the last few years. Mostly contributing it to the latest American presidential election, this combined with several other factors have had a tremendous influence on his songwriting. While always taking a reflective approach to his lyrics, there is a bigger hint of angst now. Taking his punk rock roots and applying it to his Americana sound, Hause speaks out against the complicated issues that have come about. Saying on his website, “All this great stuff was happening for me personally but with this backdrop of American ideals and American culture seemingly caving in.” And that shows throughout the lyrics of this album.
‘Kick’ is a wonderful record. It tackles themes that are fairly common place, especially within these genres. But, it does so in a way that reflects on a national and global scale, but also as intimately as the internal self. Never shying away from delicate and complicated topics, Hause tackles them head on with a rather optimistic sound. The music is catchy, easy to consume, and overall a great collection of songs. But once you dig deeper, there are some complicated ideas being presented that could easily spark thought and debate amongst the listener. And as a punk rocker, what more could you want from your music?