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CD Review: The Hush Sound set to redefine Chicago punk on debut album

July 1, 1993

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-113701367528481.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.altsounds.com’, ‘The Hush Sound powerfully distinguishes itself as an innovative new player in the game of accessible, up-tempo pop rock on its debut, So Sudden. ‘);

Though they have been lumped in with many of their pop-punk peers, The Hush Sound powerfully distinguishes itself as an innovative new player in the game of accessible, up-tempo pop rock. With their full-length debut So Sudden, a well-crafted record from start to finish, they are poised to separate themselves from their more roughly-edged Chicago counterparts.

Are there elements of punk on the album? Yes. Is lead singer/guitarist Bob Morris capable of singing coarse vocals and playing frantically-paced guitar? Absolutely. Is So Sudden a punk record? Not by a long shot. The Hush Sound adheres more to classic pop rock ideals than to contemporary punk standards, consistently choosing solid melodies over speed and aggression. Pianist Greta Salpeter not only adds a smooth texture in tickling the ivories, but also adds softness to Morris’ sturdy voice, taking average songs and transforming them into much more.

Each of the 13 tracks on So Sudden makes it obvious that The Hush Sound has a strong foundation with which to build its talents. The record opens with a flurry of positive energy (“City Traffic Puzzle”) before taking an unexpected but clever turn into the second track, “Weeping Willow.” It is a song that highlights Salpeter’s pleasantly disarming voice—one that complements Morris’ guitar so well that it forces listeners to take notice. Also of note on So Sudden is “Echo,” a tune tucked away in the middle of the album, but one that is a clear standout. Once again anchored by Salpeter’s soft crooning, the five-minute track adds layers as it grows. What begins as a lullaby-like piece of poetry, transforms first into a brief piano solo, then, with the help of the full band, into a tune accessible by anyone with an ear for pop music.

Though So Sudden is far from being a groundbreaking album, it is certainly solid acceleration for a band just getting started on the road to success. Indeed, if The Hush Sound is no more than a group of Chicago punks, they are about to redefine the term.

From the Jan. 11-17, 2006, issue

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