Homeless Wonders - Homeless Wonders (Cover Artwork)

Homeless Wonders

Homeless Wonders (2000)

Suburban Home

Homeless Wonders seem to be a very obscure ska-punk band from the '90s. Ray and Brandon from Teenage Bottlerocket used to be in the band, but that's about as well-known as they'll get. They appeared on a few comps, most famous of which is 1998's Ska Sucks, but aside from that, their two albums seem to be unknown gems. Their first album, Another One of Those Days featured a horn section. Well, for their self-titled, the band dropped the horns and became what sounds like a cross between the Assorted Jellybeans, American Steel's first album, and their future music outlet.

Most of the songs are generally short, angry songs. Some of the lyrics, like on the opener "I Can't Think", are very childish and immature. However, the band does possess some great musicianship, and the vocals aren't too bad. The fourth song, "Progress" is the first one over two minutes. It sounds like a Texas Is the Reason-influenced track. It's got the dual, strained vocals, and it's loaded with drum fills. It serves as a nice break from the three fast-paced punk tracks, but right after, the band switches back to the straightforward punk. The traded-off vocals sound a little forced. The voices don't match up well. It's not bad; it just doesn't fit with their style. "Unorthodox" is one of only two songs to be over three minutes, and features a slow buildup into the band's style of heavy pop-punk. It's not until about halfway through that the band's vocals actually kick in, but it's great when they do. This is when everything fits together perfectly and creates a really powerful track that seems to outshine the others. The singing is very earnest and urgent.

The maturity couldn't last forever on the album, as the band reverts right back into the speedy, snotty punk that seems to dominate the album. It's not too bad, though; the band does have a solid amount of intros that display the talent they have and their ability to play catchy music. This is especially shown on "Session 11" and "Wimpy", two instrumental tracks. "Session 11" is barely over a minute, and is more or less a taste at what's to come. "Wimpy" is an epic six-minute instrumental song complete with buildups, outros, and more buildups galore.

Homeless Wonders; it's a shame a band with so much talent and fun is so forgotten. The album is a nice glimpse at their punk side with the short songs, their mature side with "Unorthodox", and their general talent with their instrumentals. The downside to the album is the annoying intros that plague the last half, as well as how most of the album isn't too mature. All in all though, Homeless Wonders is still a good album worth giving a listen to. It's a change from their ska side and shows the gradual evolution of the Carlisle brothers into the pop-punk heroes they are today.