| It's been quite a while since Home Grown's Kings of Pop release in 2002--well, two years, but two years is a long time for a follow-up when you were a big fan of the previous album, like I was. Home Grown's new record, When It All Comes Down, has a relatively short track list comparing the amount of time they've had to write it, but a lot of brilliance has been performed in less than six tracks.
Listening to this record, I have to wonder just what has changed about the band. The vocals are a slightly different style than Kings of Pop, and the guitar sound is a little more tight where it counts. What remains is Home Grown's seemingly natural ability to roll out catchy songs on the subjects of love, heartbreak, and all the events in between. Track two, "Cross My Heart," epitomizes this feel. The drums and guitarwork on "I Was Right About This" provide a somewhat original take on the pop-punk style that Home Grown helped mold when they were one of Drive-Thru Records' original members.
Home Grown's strong point is not their vocals, but more the way the vocals support the music, which is a more prominent highlight for this album. Adam and John, sharing vocals, harmonize well and write some real foot-tap worthy lyrics, but it's Home Grown's blend of guitar, bass, and drums that sets them apart. All of the above has certainly matured since their last record, and When It All Comes Down presents a medley of different melodies that overlap sensationally on the record.
"Midnite City Sky" brings even more of the band's influences into the picture and stands out as slightly different from the rest of the record. There's no doubt that this is what the band has been designed from birth to do, and the music seems to come naturally to them on each song. "I Win, You Lose" is a track slightly more cynical in its melodic tone than the other songs, but retains all of its catchiness. Songs like this remind us that regardless of what we classify Home Grown is, we can't be too quick to group them in with every other "pop-punk" band we hear.
This is reaffirmed by the unique guitar tones of "What Would Love Do Now." Both lyrically and sonically, the band stitches together themes that are youthful and yet much older in the two years they've had. The individual parts of the final track don't catch your attention any more than the previous songs, but that could easily be attributed to the fact that this is a solid album all the way through.
The band has obviously gone through a lot, as anyone even close to an oldschool fan could tell you. The experiences the band has had over the past few years has obviously shaped them as musicians as well as people. When Home Grown finally comes to an end, I am sure that it will not be without a reasonably large bang. This isn't just an album for fans of Kings of Pop--this is for fans of music that isn't afraid to kick your ass and stay as catchy as any guilty pleasure pop-punk band.
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| WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN
|1) Keep Your Distance
<< 2) Cross My Heart >>
3) I Was Right About This
4) Midnight City Sky
5) I Win, You Lose
6) What Would Love Do Now