The rabble-rousers in Houseguest are determined to refine their image. "We used to write very goofy pop songs about dinosaurs, but recently we've been getting into more mature material," admits Theodore Mallison, the Akron band's lead singer. "Now we're writing a series of songs about actual paleontology. It's much more scientific."
Houseguest has earned a reputation for its cheeky live antics: drunken banter, marathon jam sessions, and bare-chested sing-alongs that inspire fans to get naked.
But these days, the high-school buddies are concentrating on making great rock music in the studio. Last year's High Strangeness, the group's debut for Audio Eagle (the label run by Black Key Patrick Carney), would make Akron innovators like Devo and the Rubber City Rebels proud. The album showcases a vintage new-wave sound that juggles the taut riffage of Gang of Four and the lush pop of XTC.
"We're trying to be better live and not so rambunctious," says Mallison. "Right now, we're known as a band -- at least in Akron -- that gets nuts and goes crazy, which is fine. But these days I kind of want to be taken a little more seriously. At the same time, I want us to be a little more jagged -- a little rougher -- when it comes to producing our sound."