It feels strangely compelling yet obviously taboo to crack a Mr. T joke about House of Fools. A cliched A-Team reference just seems juvenile and forced in such a glaring circumstance. Regardless, after one listen to Live & Learn, no one will pity any of the fools living in this metaphorical house.
Not a soul will pity the mix of summery pop with progressive rock, nor will they pity the slick production value glossing over every song. There will be no pitying Josh King’s smooth vocals and subtle, poetic lyrics. No, House of Fools does not want your pity, and frankly they just don’t need it. Live & Learn is a very respectable first effort from a relatively unheard-of band, and shows a lot of potential for a future of similarly blissful pop gems.
This means, however, the expectation from House of Fools is going to be elevated for their next album. People will be less forgiving the second time around if the second half of the record dips in energy nearly as much as Live & Learn, and probably won’t stand for the few moments when the vocal melodies border on nursery rhymes.
There are the primary missteps to avoid for the next effort, but as it stands, Live & Learn is a commendable journey through a vast array of musical styles and contexts. There is no reason to pity House of Fools just yet. Until there is, Mr. T can just wait with Gary Coleman and crack jokes about other wash-ups.