H-Town is Triangle Exception's third release, and first "concept album." Well, there was no narrative to begin with. Just a bunch of songs. But by the nature of their collaboration, a narrative was formed for each individual song to serve as a road map as each one developed. Then they recorded the song For A Good Cause. Doug went a bit overboard, attempting to evoke Peter Gabriel and the story he wrote to go along with Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Then - looking at all the individual narratives - they could kind of see how they all sort of could be tied together. And there it was - accidental concept album! The narrative is there, but the songs don't follow in sequence. There are themes of depression, lost love, undercover police work, and general melodrama. With some science fiction, supernatural elements, and whimsy here and there. The album opens with Dr. Armadillo, a grinding ode to therapeutic psychopharmacology. This one recalls the sound of REM from Monster. Wake Up And Close Your Eyes, another highlight of the album, features some funky clavinet work that is very reminiscent of early to mid career Todd Rundgren. Triangle Exception was fortunate to catch top-notch bass player Bryan Beller in a window that enabled him to lay the bass track for the instrumental F. Cotton's Shenanigans. Bryan is an alumnus of touring bands for Steve Vai, Zappa Plays Zappa, Dethklok, and The Mike Keneally Band. Other instrumentals include Mopy Rick, a very dark piece that shifts from New Age to Baroque to French Folk to Rock to Industrial in 5 minutes; and the bright jazzy You Take The Bridge, largely an instrumental, which started out as a tribute to the Minneapolis 35W bridge, and ultimately worked into the H-Town narrative perfectly. In addition to Mr. Beller, the band also was lucky enough to work with blues harmonica player Don Jones, who lends his formidable harp skills to the blues rock jaunt, Olive Juice Pt I. The unmistakably progressive Olive Juice Pt II closes out the album proper, reprising the refrain of OJ1 in a phrygian mode, and then launching into a lot of different directions before segueing directly into hat. Advocacy - a quick little nod and tribute to Mike Keneally. Other genres jumped upon include the cowbell-peppered, Southern rock-sprinkled Views Divided, the half-mellow balladry of Behind The Scenes, and the heavy metal cacophonous assault of Lights, Cameras, Paranoia. And along the way, you may spot subtle traces of inspiration from Todd Rundgren, XTC, and Jethro Tull, among others. ---USAProgMusic Review--- Triangle Exception - H-Town 8/10 By Eduard Antoniu Even though what you hear is mostly The Who and Todd Rundgren, this is not an easy pick. It took me several listens to get into the Philly/Minneapolis-based duo's second release but it started growing on me already at the second, which speaks about it's value. H-Town, Triangle Exception are Philly-based Doug Darrell (vocals, guitar, bass) and Minneapolis-based Steve Wonchoba (vocals, keyboards, drums and drum programming). There is also Bryan Beller (bass) on "F. Cotton's Shenanigans" (instrumental), my favorite track on the album, and Don Jones (harmonica) on "Olive Juice Pt. I", a track that reminds of Peter Gabriel's "Humdrum". The most interesting track on the album is "Olive Juice Pt. II". You can hear some Wetton-Downes, In the Wake of Poseidon-era King Crimson, Pawn Hearts-era Van der Graaf Generator, After Crying. "Views Divided" and "For a Good Cause" come close, with Billy Sherwood-like vocal arrangements. "Wake Up and Close Your Eyes" includes some nice guitar work and electric piano. "Mopy Rick" is a title pun with Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" but musically has nothing to do with it. It's more like Gong and Doors. "You Take the Bridge" is Keneallesque. "Behind the Scenes (Acoustic Melody)" is more like Coldplay. "hat.Advocacy" is like an ad on The Who Sell Out. In total, there are twelve original tracks clocking at a total of fifty minutes on this album. Added to these are remixes of two tracks (totaling 10 minutes) that were originally released on their Cheesesteak Walleye debut album: "Conformity" (metal) and "The Foreigner" (with Hackettian guitar in the beginning, going Lifesonian in the middle); plus a hidden, Gabrielesque narration (15 minutes). This one would have made perhaps more sense if divided and scattered between tracks, especially if somehow related to those tracks. And this is an aspect that is difficult to assess: the liner notes include "Lyrics & More @ TriangleException.com" but I haven't been able to find them. They may be there later. I befriended the band on MySpace one evening when Doug Darrell was carpooling, stuck in Philly's traffic, backseat with his laptop. He then kindly showed me images of his whereabouts on a website. I seem to recognize some of them among the photos that were included in the CD's cover artwork. Which makes me think he also contributed to it, too.