Artist: The Home Team
Album: Slow Bloom
It’s Fall–and in most places around the country, leaves are turning, things are cooling down, and the sweet, savory and exciting scent of the Holidays lingers just around the proverbial corner . Granted, I live in Arizona, where things are basically all Summer all the time, but it’s still an enthralling time of the year. When Fall swings around, usually things blooming are the last thing anyone thinks of–unless, of course, you’re the Pacific Northwest’s resident pop-punk-post-hardcore-pop-rock amalgam, The Home Team. The band’s long-awaited and highly teased sophomore Revival Recordings release, Slow Bloom is one of the most fun records of the year. Moody, bouncy, sexy and somber with a simultaneously trendy and timeless demeanor, Slow Bloom can easily be described as a soft record for people who love heavy music (and, as it turns out, is partially written by some of heavy music’s Ex-Heroes)–but it’s foolish to think of it as just that. More importantly, Slow Bloom is absolutely my own favorite “non-heavy” release 2021 has had to offer, and after a couple spins, I’m betting it will be yours as well.
Slow Bloom is a curious record in the sense where, at first listen, it sounds like a fairly innocuous pop-punk record that went maybe a touch heavy on the pop. With more listens, however, the subtleties and nuances within the release become more and more evident—and it starts with the percussion. Laid down by the explosive percussionist from an infamous MySpace deathcore act, Idols, the drumming throughout Slow Bloom is punchy and bouncy, giving each song a strong, solid foundation. Songs like the title track, as well as lead single “Right Through Me” and closing cut “Danger” see some of The Home Team’s bolder moments, with choruses crafted atop a firmament of strong, sturdy drumming—the same choruses that are sure to be stuck in your head for weeks. Other songs, like “Scary Movies” or “FOMO” see slightly faster and flashier drumming serving as the jumping-off point for some thick, slinking bass that adds a robust (albeit vaguely horny) low end to The Home Team’s dynamic. This is further filled out by fun, flashy fretwork that gives the listener an experience that draws on everything from artsy post-hardcore to angsty pop-punk and even top-40s pop. This dynamic reaches a head on “Who Do You Know Here?” and “FOMO,” both of which see The Home Team’s instrumental efforts offering something infinitely more engaging and creative than the genre’s standard fare. It’s the various instrumental influences—from the vaguely -core tinted drumming in the chorus to “Slow Bloom,” the edgy “Danger,” randier-than-a-kid-on-prom-night “On” and break-neck “Scary Movies”—that make Slow Bloom such a multifaceted listen.
When it comes to the band’s vocal element, the post-hardcore meets pop-heavy-rock stylings take even more of a skyward leap. Being totally honest, the lyricism and vocal arrangements on “Right Through Me,” “Move It or Lose It” and “Slow Bloom” are some of my favorites of any genre throughout the entire year. The Home Team played up their ability to croon about deep-cutting heartbreak and melancholic angst and infuse it with a youthful energy and whimsical zest that makes it feel fresh and invigorating. Even the more sullen numbers—“Another Night Alone With You” and “Sails”—still keep the listener’s attention handily, even when The Home Team’s bread and butter is hormonal, energetic, maybe-a-little-tipsy vitriol filled pop-punk.
The Home Team did just about everything right when it comes to Slow Bloom—making it something I’ve found myself addicted to throughout the scorching Arizona Summer and well into the Fall. Combining catchiness with emotion and the ever-appealing teenage angst, Slow Bloom is an incredible release that borrows tidbits from a sprawling number of genres to create an innocent, fun, catchy release that still holds up to several deep dives.
For Fans Of: Glacier Veins, Crooked Teeth, man I don’t know, all I listen to is deathcore.
By: Connor Welsh