It’s another anthemic emo record that reminds me of my 20’s in so many ways. Mostly positive ways, at least most of the time. But before you accuse me of some misplaced nostalgia, I’d encourage you to take some time out of your busy schedule and enjoy what The Hotelier has created with this nine-song record. Just make sure that you don’t confuse Home, Like Noplace There Is with anything you’ve heard from Saddle Creek in the mid-00’s.
This is punk-infused emo of the highest order, and it’s worthy of high-falutin’ descriptors like cathartic, anthemic, and powerful. Not sure what that means without references to other bands? Start with anything and everything created by Blake Schwartzenbach, toss in some of Ian Brock’s manic whimsy, add a few dashes of Aaron Weiss’ passion, and then stir in a heaping spoonful of Soupy Campbell’s pop smarts.
Got it? Good. Get ready to scream out these songs at the top of your voice.
I’m impressed by the fantastic chemistry between these gents. The vocals are superb, especially when paired with the harmony gang vox that appear at the right times. The bright drumming and stellar bass work make for a sturdy foundation upon which the crunching, buzzing guitars create a solid pop feel that’s balanced and nuanced.
The band also displays a great appreciation of dynamics, pacing, and flow, and it comes through in how the tunes never feel overwrought. And as gut-wrenching as the songs can be (see “Your Deep Rest” and “Discomfort Revisited” for key examples), I believe every single word. Big anthems like “The Scope of All of This Rebuilding,” “In Framing,” and “Housebroken” are authentic and real - there’s nothing forced in this music, even when twinges of post-core furor enter the record’s latter third.
What do I like most about Home, Like Noplace There Is? It’s simple - I don’t feel emotionally wiped out when the record’s over. Instead, I feel fulfilled, as if I’ve made my way through the musical five stages of grief and come out on the other side like a whole person. So, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to homelikenoplaceisthere for such a wonderful record.
And to the rest of you people - THIS is how you make a forward-thinking rock record that pays homage to its influence while still pushes things in new directions.
**Begin Public Service Announcement**
Attention all aficionados of female-fronted indie-pop!
Attune your ears to the music of Be Forest!
Earthbeat possesses a solid musical core straight from the Cocteau Twins repertoire and displays a young band with a clear identity and personality!
Rejoice and be glad that more dreamy tunes have entered the world and have been created for your enjoyment!
**End Public Service Announcement**
So - what does that mean in terms of actual descriptors? Let me string a few together for your reading pleasure, since you asked so nicely.
This Italian quartet derives its dreamy sparse pop aesthetic from equal parts vintage 4AD, The Raveonettes, The Church, and The xx. It also helps that the breathy vocals of Erica Terenzi and Costanza Delle Rose call to mind Class Actress and Frankie Rose - both of whom borrow reverentially from pop chanteuses of the ‘60s and ‘80s.
Tired of name-dropping? That’s a fair complaint. Let’s try again.
I’m enamored with the delicious interplay that exists between the snaking, echo-drenched guitar melodies of Nicola Lampredi and the airy synth sections crafted by Lorenzo Badioli. However, it’s the rhythm section work Terenzi and Rose on bass and drums respectively that provide the record with its heart and heft. Instead of floating away like an ethereal cloud of cliches, Earthbeat remains rooted in dense musical terra firm while reaching for the sky.
Led by a triptych of songs in the middle of the record - specifically “Lost Boy,” “Ghost Dance,” and “Airwaves” - Be Forest strikes a delicate balance between crisp pop, arty haze, and gothy post-punk to spare. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t shy away from your influences, remain free of pretense, and embrace the need for shifts and swells in the dynamics and tempo of your music.
I’m not sure that this would be the best festival band ever, as sonic textures like these don’t always carry for long distances. But I’d love to catch this act inside any dank, dark club of your choosing so that the supple guitar licks could grace my ears as the bass and kick drum could punch me in the chest.
Ultimately, this is a good, solid - but not great - record, and I’m more than OK with that.