Year 4, Day 35: Houston Calls – A Collection of Short Stories

New Jersey’s knack for grinding out excellent pop-punk continues with Houston Calls’ debut album, “A Collection of Short Stories”.


Year 4, Day 35: Houston Calls – A Collection of Short Stories


Track List

  1. Sunrise Goodbyes
  2. Exit, Emergency
  3. Bob and Bonnie
  4. Elephant and Castle
  5. Amtrak is For Lovers
  6. High Rise
  7. One More Won’t Hurt
  8. Bottle of Red, Bottle of Sprite
  9. A Line in the Sand
  10. A Pen and A Piece of Mind
  11. The Better Part of Valor

About the Album

A Collection of Short Stories is the official debut album from New Jersey Pop-Punk/Power-Pop band, Houston Calls. The album was released on August 2nd 2005 through Rushmore Records, a sister label of Drive-Thru Records.

Thoughts on the Album

Here we go, the homestretch. The final seven albums for year 4. It’s almost kind of sad… almost. You know, more as much as I rag on New Jersey, the do produce some killer pop-punk/power-pop music. Well… it’s more than just pop-punk, but punk in generally. It must benefit being in-between two different music scenes in New York City and Philadelphia.

Anyway… today’s album is the debut from New Jersey pop-punk/power-pop band Houston CallsA Collection of Short Stories. The album is a ridiculously catchy album that is in the same vein as Midtown, except with more of a pop edge to it. The guitar work is crisp and thick, the drums perfectly compliment the powerful and plentiful vocals and harmonies. It is a collection of fun, fast paced pop-punk (or power-pop depending on who you ask) songs.

The song that most people associate with this band is the second track, Exit, Emergency. It is a perfect dance-punk hit that’ll have you both singing and dancing along to it. It’s chorus is huge and soaring to the point where it is almost obnoxious… but it’s almost impossible NOT to sing along to it…

So I’ll kill the doubt,

I’ll put the fire out,

extinguish everything,

might even forget your name…

The intro track, Sunrise Goodbyes, is a track that is fast paced and has synths that are in the same vein as Motion City Soundtrack. The chorus is insanely catchy and the harmonies are almost perfect. Bob and Bonnie is a very nice mid-to-fast tempo rocker that lyrically is a ballad, but musically is mid-to-fast tempo. It’s a new twist on the stereotypical love song. One of my favorite tracks is Amtrak is For Lovers. The track’s chorus will have you rewinding the song over and over again just to hear it again…

No joke… she says “I’ll leave you. I never meant to treat you like this, I can’t believe it. I’ll give you three more chances then I’m gone for good.” He swears… he’s really worth it. Can’t have time to show it, this routine is over as he says to her, it hits her like a ton of bricks…


While it’s a good album, there is a lack of depth between the tracks. The second half of the album sounds exactly like the first, which is a slight drawback. The production of the album is excellent, however. The guitars are thick and crunchy. The bass grooves fill out their sequences well, the drums are deep and rich. Given when the album was released (2005) it’s excellent pop-punk. Nowadays, it’s a good album that is lacking some depth and differences between the songs. However it’s an energetic and refined pop-punk/power-pop album.

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