Review Summary: Will the real New Found Glory, please stand up.
Back when A Day to Remember released their debut, And Their Name is Treason
, it was a pretty big deal. At that point, metalcore hadn’t infested every post-hardcore/pop-punk band in America, and A Day to Remember’s strange combination of pop-punk hooks and metalcore riffs and breakdowns was sort of a novel idea, even if it was a little…gay. Two albums and nearly 4 years later, A Day to Remember haven’t seemed to progress that basic combination of ideas beyond tightening up the song writing to a degree, and while diehard fans of the band and genre enthusiasts (does pop-punk-metalcore have those?) might still be stoked on it, Homesick
is an incredibly derivative and plodding record, and even worse is filled to the brim with laughable moments.
The album starts off with a low, guttural chant of da da dada’s, which is followed by a guitar riff following the same pattern. At the risk of breaking the fourth wall between me and you, I laughed my ass off the first time I heard it. I had to listen to it a second time, convinced a band just wouldn’t do that to themselves. I was gravely mistaken. While a sense of humor is essential to most pop-punk bands success, this is just one example of embarrassing decisions by the band to include “memorable” moments in songs. I don’t want to share many more of them, as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone who ventures forward and listens to the record, but expect to be immensely entertained sporadically by different sections of the album, for better or worse.
Every single song besides the final acoustic “ballad” follows the same type of formula: catchy verses, sing a long choruses, and so-heavy-your-head-is-going-to-fall-off-from-headbanging-so-hard breakdowns thrown in. It kind of works for the first three songs, as the Jimmy Eat World meets Atreyu “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” (mhm, this is one of those
albums) is surprisingly solid, the hook of “you know I’ve got you like a puppet in the palms of my hand” clashing perfectly with the growled parts right after. It’s a rare indication that if A Day to Remember either really focused on writing great songs consistently or wrote shorter albums, it perhaps could be salvaged.
Then again, this isn’t a 3 song EP, and there are 9 other songs. To be perfectly honest, I have played the album in its entirety 5 times, and I cannot remember one outstanding moment on any of these songs, just awful recollections of when a tolerable chorus was suddenly ruled by a HARDCORE gang shout or Bullet For My Valentine style breakdown. “You Already Know What You Are” is pretty much a minute and a half breakdown, and its about as good as you would expect that to be (hint: horrible). It’s like these guys listened to New Found Glory for years and decided that NFG had finally sold out, and that they HAD to revive that old sound. It’s pop-punk at it’s worst; taken way too seriously, and unintentionally way too hilarious.
Crank up what annoys 90% of people about punk music these days, and that’s what Homesick
is. They are built to be loved by a fairly small demographic of kids, and hated by pretty much everyone else. In addition to the other undocumented atrocities I haven’t pointed out, they somehow managed to have a guest spot from (fairly incredible) VersaEmerge Sierra Kusterbeck on “If It Means a Lot To You” and ruin the song by making it typical Journey-derivative acoustic power schlock. It’s not so much that this album inspires hate, it just inspires such a high level of laughability that I seriously cannot recommend this in good conscience as an album for anyone to listen to seriously. Spin it if you are looking for some kicks or music you can play for you scene buddies in the car, but otherwise stay far, far away.