ALBUM OF THE DAY
The Homesick, “The Big Exercise”
By Annie Zaleski · February 07, 2020 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

Evidence of post-punk’s porous sonic divisions turn up all over The Big Exercise, the full-length Sub Pop debut from Dutch trio The Homesick. While the album features plenty of jittery guitar riffs, precise drum fills, and needling basslines, the trio hopscotch between these more traditional post-punk signifiers and more expansive, inventive arrangements with call-and-response vocals, lilting clarinet and piano, and acoustic instrumentation.

The Big Exercise kicks off with “What’s In Store,” a song with Fleet Foxes-esque pastoral harmonies and a sample of running water that sounds like a drink being poured over ice. That tranquility gives way to the stormy, marching “Children’s Day” and the jangly psychedelic pop of “Pawing,” each with their own disparate approaches to the genre. Yet the record is at its best when The Homesick embrace the fact that their myriad influences aren’t mutually exclusive, as on brisk highlight  “I Celebrate My Fantasy,” where taut rhythms and choppy guitar co-exist with jaunty clarinet, circular piano ostinatos, and stacked harmonies. And though it starts with an atmosphere of calm, The Big Exercise closes with “Male Bonding”—a thundering number dominated by hoarse vocal screams and scorched-earth guitar that conjures the power of controlled chaos.

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