Pop-punk has come a long way from its frosted-tipped heyday in the mid-2000s. The genre has suffered from the same kind of glut as hair metal or grunge went through, as wave after wave of mostly indistinguishable bands threatened to leech some of the sparks that the original greats once had.
But unlike those other two styles, pop-punk’s ability to outgrow its skateboard park youth has saved it. Original greats like Green Day and Bad Religion have been elevated to genuine classic status instead of the unenviable “middle-school phase” spot. This trend hasn’t made it easier on emerging bands though, who now have to put double the effort into their songwriting to be taken seriously. It’s more pop than punk most of the time. The catchiest riff wins. Winner takes all.
Luckily for Homesafe, Pure Noise Records latest pop-punk outfit to come out of Chicago, their catchy hooks sound effortless. They may not show the balls-out hedonism of the likes of Fidlar, but there’s no denying that only an icepick will get the opening chords of “Run” out of your head. One comes in on the tail end of several well-received singles, EP’s and one LP, showing that these guys have the drive as well as energy. That energy comes close to running out on the acoustic “Stay Away,” before the awesomely named “Vanilla-Scented Laser Beams” puts things right again. We’ll even forgive the line “All around me I can feel this fucking groove” if they play that one riff again. It’s like hearing early Sum 41 for the first time. And we don’t give that compliment lightly.
One isn’t perfect, but it’s head-and-shoulders above the average schlock that comes out of the pop-punk scene these days. It’s surprisingly easy to screw this formula up, but there isn’t a song on One that doesn’t pass with flying colours. Homesafe can get surprisingly introspective at times, which could bring an interesting dimension to future releases as it did in the song “Headache/Guts” on their Evermore EP last year.
Ryan Rumchaks also plays bass with Knuckle Puck. If absolutely nothing else, One shows that it would be a tragedy for Homesafe to remain a side-project. There’s so much potential here still to be tapped. And with performances at Slam Dunk Festival in the UK and hundreds of thousands of streams on Spotify, Homesafe are on the way up. Keep an eye on this group.
Written by Max Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy