The Homesick
The Big Exercise

(Sub Pop)


The Homesick’s second album, and their first on Sub Pop, has a shockingly distinct sound. It appears the band were quite consciously removing themselves from the clichés of their indie-rock contemporaries – there are no harshly twanging lead guitar lines or built-up anthemic choruses in sight.

The opener, ‘What’s In Store’, is a self-aware proclamation of what the project will bring. Its dreamy neo-psychedelia and eerie creepings of piano provide a gentle introduction to the remaining nine tracks; the stretches and warm up for what will prove to be quite an arduous and ‘big’ exercise.

While the floating phantasmagorical sound crafted by the Dutch trio is undeniably interesting, it breeds little to no further sonic variation across the LP. Every now and again a sparse flickering of electronics, a wash of warm shoegaze-y guitar or a jilted woodwind riff slips into the mix, producing a bit of energy on top of a sound that otherwise quickly falls to samey lethargy. These ghostly fairground, carnival-esque arrangements do produce a few highlights (the uneasy pop of ‘Children Day’ and the monstrously brooding outro to the title track, accompanied by a distorted bass that crunches to the core), but ultimately the whole record stands as a sped-up and darkened set of ‘For The Benefit of Mr. Kite’ pastiches. The sonic concept is engrossing for an EP’s measure of songs but beyond that it can feel as if you’ve been force fed a dose of acid and strapped to a vintage carousel. There is promise in the songwriting but a lack of diversity smudges this with devastating effect.