Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home - (You Can Make It) Underground

(Screw Music Forever, 199x)

I’m back from vacation, rested but sporting a painful sunburn due to the bathing beauties with whom I travel having missed a spot during the application of lotion. Crispy right shoulder blade aside, you’ll be pleased to know that the beach, where I ignored music and focused on consuming much purple prose, was a swell time, and now I’m ready to start thinking about records again, starting with – chuckle chuckle –
Home. These Floridians-turned-Brooklynites have been on a succession of impressive labels – Relativity, Emperor Jones, Jet Set, Arena Rock, Brah – while somehow managing to stay pretty far under the radar for most of their career. Not sure whether that’s due to the band’s innate quirkiness (sonic/stylistic restlessness, low profile on the concert scene, concept album about sex), or good ol’ fashioned bum luck, but theirs is an extensive and interesting catalog that merits a looky-listen from all askew-pop fans currently drawing both breath and a salary. This early single, likely released in the mid-’90s, is four tracks of extremely enjoyable primitive pop experimentation that succeeds on its own merits, sounding as it does like the late-’90s Flaming Lips recorded on zero budget, or young Pavement without the detached wryness, while also hinting at the lush greatness yet to come on Home XIV. I’ll admit that I find the ultra-lo-fi recording rather self-conscious and gimmicky, even if it was in fact borne of poverty/necessity, but the songs themselves are so good, there being ideas a-plenty here and an obvious knack for melody and laziness-avoidance – a shitkicking Olivia Tremor Control? – that it’s easy to forget ’n’ forgive whatever perceived sonic transgressions. No gyp wax, this; a fine item to take up space on any shelf.

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