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The Chicopee Herald - February 6, 2002
By Josh Shear Staff Writer

Nothing says, "forever," quite like a diamond, and nothing says, "Wow! A new Henning album," quite like a new record from Henning Ohlenbusch.

So, maybe that's not the most profound analogy you've read on these pages (and if it is, we here at Reminder Publications need to get on the ball), but that pretty much sums up Ohlenbusch's style. The former Humbert frontman and head of the open mic at the now-defunct Baystate, Ohlenbusch has a penchant for saying things how they really are, and his latest solo effort "Henning's School for the Dead" (2001, Rub Wrongways Records) is a good example. Ohlenbusch even labels his own songs what they are: the mushy, two-minute pop song about friendship is called Sitcom Theme, and it certainly resembles one.

Ohlenbusch would be a musical anomaly almost anywhere else, but the Pioneer Valley is a haven for pop obscurity. He fits in with locals like The Maggies and former Dinosaur, Jr., frontman J. Mascis.

While he'd also make it in the lands of R.E.M. and Husker Dü, Ohlenbusch is a model of Western Massachusetts pop as he stands behind a microphone, singing about Jive Driving (take a guess, you can't be too far off) and love coming Full Circle: eyes closed, mouth wide open, the sounds of beverage glasses being returned to tables while people contemplate the lyrics that seem to perfectly describe the point he is trying to get across.

"Henning's School for the Dead" is the cleanest piece of pop music to come out of Northampton in a while, and Ohlenbusch took care of pretty much everything on the record ­ all the instruments, nearly all of the vocal harmony, and most of the production.

The album is available at Valley stores that sell local music, or online at