(Just Plain Awful)
Throughout the ‘80s Homestead
Records was practically the source of the Nile for terrific, cutting edge and
influential indie-rock bands, and were grist for the mill of college radio.
They even had a distinctive sound of their own, and if Jeremy James’ Dungeon
Honey had been recording back then and handed them this ten-song album, then
dollar to donuts it would have been another band in the Homestead stable.
From that perhaps arcane reference
to younger readers (look them up on Wikipedia), one notes from the very first
listening how the songs fit comfortably like an old pair of worn-in shoes. But
this isn’t totally some retro retread of those times or bands, and it’s likely Mr.
James hasn’t even heard any of those bands, except perhaps Dinosaur Jr, who
still roams the earth, lo, these many years later. This is his second release,
selling out quickly in the cassette format, but still available on eMusic and
iTunes. The music rocks amiably along, with some nice power chords and hook-y
riffs throughout, as well as some gentle, romantic overtones to several of the
Romantic as in classic Lord
Byron and Shelley, not Harlequin Romance novels or chick flicks, though it’s a
challenge to qualify exactly what that means. While “Pretty Like the End of the
Century” and “Sweet Bordertown Love Maker” really do recall Dinosaur Jr from
the opening chords, others like “Alyson”, “Pacific Motion” and “Miracles” are
timely siblings of Surfer Blood and The Soft Pack. “Cold Highway” also echoes
Nirvana somewhat. “Starlight” is one of the more romantic numbers, with nicely
plucked acoustic guitar supported by chamber strings beneath. If you keep a
running “to buy” list for music, I would urge putting Pacific Motion at the top
of it, or, if you’re simply an obnoxious know-it-all eager to introduce your
pals to something they’ve never heard of. It seriously is that solid of an
album and may score you a few taste-maker points with music-lover friends.
DOWNLOAD: “Sweet Bordertown Love Maker”, “Pacific Motion”. BARRY