Release Date: Feb 7, 2020
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
Making their Sub Pop debut are the Homesick, a trio of Dutch sonic explorers from the Frisian town of Dokkum whose idiosyncratic indie rock traverses Motorik post-punk, neo-psychedelia, and lean Baroque pop. The Big Exercise follows three years after the band's slightly grittier 2017 missive Youth Hunt, which introduced their signature blend to mostly European audiences and scored them a fair amount of critical buzz, not to mention an American record deal. Brandishing a youthful mix of confidence, creative intelligence, and chutzpah, members Elias Elgersma (guitar), Jaap Van der Velde (bass), and Erik Woudwijk (drums) have landed on a surprisingly distinctive sound, one that contains enough melodic warmth to engage listeners but packed with complex song structures and played with taut precision.
Tying an angular and meandering form of post-punk to whimsical and highly eccentric takes on topics ranging from teenage Christianity to modern food habits, plus the background knowledge that drummer Erik Woudwijk saved up from the age of 12 to buy the Unimog, a decommissioned military vehicle, it's fair to say a character emerged that both baffled and intrigued listeners. Loaded lines with seemingly obvious connotations ("Patriotism you're all mine/I'm an eater of meat" from "Eater of Meat") were set to fluctuating and often comical instrumentals and vocals. Was this new trio from Dokkum, a small town in the north of the Netherlands, trying to impart wisdom and insight, or were they just dragging us along for a laugh? The band's new follow-up, The Big Exercise, will do little to assuage those desperate for an answer as to where The Homesick 's convictions lie.
Compared to the stark and brooding post-punk of their 2017 debut album 'Youth Hunt', The Homesick's new LP 'The Big Exercise' sounds like it was made by a different band. In part this is true. While the band is still made up of Jaap van der Velde, Erik Woudwijk and Elias Elgersma they have been on the road, got homesick - not pun intended - and been exposed to different cultures and music.