This is the part of the review where I’m supposed to dazzle you with my knowledge of a band’s history, to both set the scene and establish my credibility – the equivalent of the bit at work conferences that always go on way too long, where the speaker thinks it’s necessary to go through their CV, telling you all about why they get to speak to you, rather than telling you stuff you might actually need to know, or find interesting.
Well, I’ve got a confession for you… in terms of music taste, background and collection, the more observant of you will know that I’m absolutely not the right person to talk to you about alternative pop-punk band Homesafe.
Second bit of fourth wall shattering, and then I’ll get on with things… I was just about to reply back to their PR rep to say thanks but no thanks – it’s a busy week for releases, as they all are, and there were others on the schedule that are more “Ghost Cult centric” – when I decided on a whim to just give lead-off single, the infectious ‘Run’, a cursory listen first. The upbeat, catchy track danced into my ears and stopped me from hitting send, slapping a smile on my face instead. The rest of the album reinforced that impact, and I had been pulled in.
This is, hopefully, why I’m absolutely the right person to talk to you about Homesafe, after all.
What Homesafe do really well on their debut full-length album, One (Pure Noise), is to deliver an impressive mix of alternative rock with a Nineties undertone to it, and contemporary Rock-cum-emo, combining meaningful vocal melodies, often subtly underplayed, melodic guitar lines dancing over driving alt-punk chords and a finely honed mainstream sensibility. Put all that together, and they sit very comfortably in the tranche of bands that dominate the daytime playlist of Scuzz TV – but one of the ones you leave on as they’re clearly doing it better than most – all while adopting neither the bratty approach that some of the more annoying of their contemporaries do, nor falling into the mature equals boring trap that the likes of You Me At Six have long been caught, stagnating in.
Instead, there is vibrancy and a deliberate use of dynamics. ‘Have It All’ displays well controlled and guided changes, and the tips of the hat to Smashing Pumpkins – the fuzzy, thicker guitar tones, dancing melodic leads, and the impassioned vocals – give Homesafe a more credible and believable edge. Darker tracks like ‘Sadistic Society’ rub shoulders with the cleaner and reflective Screaming Trees-tinged ‘Stay Away’, and the more optimistic, poppier single ‘Vanilla Scented Laser Beams’ and its Sum 41 licks. ‘Suits and Ties’ has a grunge, pop-punk swagger.
The brainchild of Knuckle Puck bassist Ryan Rumchaks, Homesafe have cultivated their sound well over the last four years of combining life on the road and a handful of EP’s, coming to the boil on a first full album that delivers a crafted mix of the last twenty years of alternative rock while still being absolutely born from a place of the here and now. One turned my head in a way I wasn’t expecting with a strong set of quality contemporary alternative rock songs, and you can’t really ask for much more than that.