Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN - 5/12
Written by: PP on 14/10/2012 19:21:29
A throaty scream of "Raised in complacency of these uncertain beliefs" opens the debut album "Translation" by Lansing, Michigan based Homelife with a bang. It's seldom to hear vocals with so much urgency, with so much honesty, and so much passion packed into a single line which come to define the rest of the album through their coarse melody and nostalgia-driven approach. Similarly explosive opening vocal hooks are found across the album, such as on "Paradigm Shift", where the scream is "In this endless hallway every word you say resonates". They are a major reason why "Translation" is as catchy as it is, despite reaching towards the murkier and darker nuances of punk rock with a smoke-flavored sound that recalls the late 90s bands.
It's of course all taken from the Latterman / Hot Water Music / Small Brown Bike sphere of influence. That doesn't matter though because of how raw and passionate the vocals are, which are in perfect contrast to the slightly more intricate guitar work that refuses to stick to the standard fast paced chords of punk rock and instead explores unusual up-then-down melodies, changing tempos, and other techniques to create a contemplative mood and thoughtful atmosphere to the album. It's not afraid to pick up the pace where necessary and go into straight up HWM style punk-fuelled post-hardcore, but it's precisely because of the slower and more ambient melodies that "Translation" stands out from the rest of the bands doing essentially the same thing. And there are many.
But as good as "Translation" is in places, it does go through its lulls where the songs are merely decent, instead of fantastic, like the two I've mentioned already, and "No Direction", which is the third highlight of the album. On many tracks the band wander so deeply into the slow and emotionally charged forest that the listener has difficulty seeing the band through the layers upon layers of faint melody on top of each other. But fortunately there are enough solid tracks where the band's introspective melodies strike through on first listen because of a catchy lyric, the coarse vocal delivery, or a unique guitar line to make "Translation" a good listen overall. Check it out, if for nothing else than the great vocal performance throughout the record.
Download: Shapeless, No Direction, Paradigm Shift, Forms
For the fans of: Small Brown Bike, Hot Water Music, North Lincoln, Latterman
Release date 15.05.2012
Black Numbers / Bermuda Mohawk