Reviewer: Tom Sloman
Released: 7th February 2020
Label: Sub Pop
Dutch band The Homesick appeared on most UK listeners’ radar with energetic debut ‘Youth Hunt’. It was a record that was as thrilling as it was chaotic, now, with the follow-up ‘The Big Exercise’, the band have expanded their sound with mixed results.
Opener ‘What’s In Store’ is the first taste of their expanded range, pastoral acoustic guitars colliding with ‘60s psych vocal harmonies. ‘Pawing’ also follows an overtly kooky path, with chintzy harpsichord sounds meeting finicky drum patterns. It’s commendable that the band have tried to bring in different sounds to their palette but the levels of whimsy are dialled up to such an extreme that it feels akin to hearing a vintage children’s TV soundtrack in the middle of a hallucinogenic binge.
Sometimes these new sounds pay off, the vocal harmonies reappear on ‘Kaïn’ and on the blissful ‘Small Exercise’ but this time to bewitching effect. The record is truly at its best when the band let loose on tracks like ‘Children’s Day’ and feral closer ‘Male Bonding’. It’s here the band really take off, chiming guitars meeting righteous bursts of noise. If The Homesick can keep some of these new elements and pare back the oddity just a little bit there might just be a great record in them yet.