Head Home - Outside My Window (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Head Home

Outside My Window (2008)


Westminster, Maryland's Head Home is making their debut here with this six-song EP. The band play straightforward rock that's punk at heart, chillin' in the `85-`95 ‘college rock' realm with pounding backbeats, crunchy chords and rippin' leads. "Raincloud Straight to You" makes a confident introduction, with a bending guitar line and slurred vocals readily recalling Dinosaur Jr. They probably sound more like Superchunk, though, and there ya go, they've got the cover of On the Mouth right in their MySpace 'Influences' section. "Airplane Rider" has that nice Superchunk-y dirty guitar tone but they spice it up at the outro with the backing guitar implementing the whammy bar to achieve a cool effect, churning below the song's surface.

"Keep Me High" finds the band shifting styles back and forth between a mid-tempo groove with clean guitars and sweet bass runs to a charging dirty section with those drawled vocals courtesy of guitarist Mike Stearns. Not all the vocals are so slurred, with other guitarist Jesse Davis taking the lead as well. I believe he's the one singing on "One Bright Light," which has the catchiest chorus here, propelled by a powerful start-stop rhythm. After what at first seems like a sloppy finish the band forges on into a jammy crawling outro.

"Backdrop" has a chorus that leans too heavily on a wah-pedal guitar lead, forcing the vocals to just ride the wave. Fortunately, the rest of the song keeps interest with an airy bridge and shreddin' solo section. Another drawback would be production -- I don't have much problem with the music, as it sounds raw staying true with their influences, but the vocals could use a little extra something. They are too dry and hot in the mix for the style; they need to tuck back in and blend a bit.

Head Home play rock without a gimmick and without caving to current trends and I commend them for that. They have built a solid starting point here and need to toy with tempos and the further reaches of their style to keep interest. For these six songs, though, I'm pretty captivated.