(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #400: The Homesick

By on Wednesday, 14th February 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

I’m a suburban kid whose way of life has been less tied to what was going on in the big city a half an hour away (Washington, DC) than doing my own thing and being successful at it. There’s a special sense of pride when you can do it on your own. So it’s terrible inspiring to hear about a band coming from a tiny town none of us have ever heard of, whose music is strong enough to get noticed far outside of their little bubble. While the capital of Amsterdam is famous for its canals and pot-friendly culture, it’s a world away from Friesland in the north of the country, where agriculture is king. It was in the fortified town of Dokkum in this Dutch province where The Homesick were hatched.

Far away from the influence of any other scene, the alt-rock trio of Elias, Jaap and Erik have been free to craft their own sound and go their own way in the world of Dutch rock music. Their 2013 debut EP, the irreverently titled ‘Twst Yr Wrsts’, featured the surf rock-y ‘Boys’ and a song extolling the virtues of listening to Johnny Cash on a Friday night. Last year’s ‘Youth Hunt’, the Homesick’s debut album out now on Subroutine Records, is littered with catchy, yet oddly beguiling tunes bashed out on guitar and drums in a family garage. This is a sound powered by youthful exuberance, yes, but leave your misconceptions that age and talent are somehow connected at the door. There is nothing pedantic about their music.

The driving rhythm and unapologetic reverb of ‘The Best Thing About Being Young is Falling in Love With Jesus’ is a mesmerising blend of the kind of music the lads say they bonded over: Joy Division and shoegaze. If you’re wondering what’s up with The Homesick’s preoccupation with religion here and in single ‘St. Boniface’, the ancient area known as Frisia and its then-pagan people were repeatedly a target for conversion to Christianity by the Anglo-Saxon missionary. In the latter, the nod to their literal origins (and the pilgrims that find their way to Dokkum, for that matter) reminds us of where they come from (sweet, no?), while its punctuated beats and shouts rise above the haze of echoey guitars. ‘Gucci Gucci’ is even more fun, the bounce of the guitar notes sounding more at home on the Malibu coast than Friesland’s.

The Homesick have a command of what makes for a memorable pop song. But the young Dutch group are able to use this within the confines of a rock song, confines they’ve set to be relaxed enough to let them experiment with time signatures and tempo. They sound vaguely like bands you know and love, but they’ve have turned the familiar enough on its head to be fresh and interesting.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, The Homesick’s appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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