Release Date: Mar 12, 2013
Record label: Epitaph
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
Home, Off With Theirs Heads' third full-length, (or fourth, depending on which side of the Hospitals debate you land on) finds the group diving deeper into the rabbit hole of experimentation they began digging on 2010's In Desolation, while still remaining firmly grounded in the realm of gritty pop-punk. As such, it's the rare album that should deflect both "all their albums sounds the same" and "sell out!" accusations. The band recycle a few ideas from past glories: the guitar lick about halfway through opener "Start Walking" strongly recalls "Until the Day I Die" and first single "Nightlife" in nearly structurally identical to In Desolation's "Drive.
Minneapolis punk band Off with Their Heads grew out of an extensive string of split singles, eking out their melodic yet depraved pop-punk sound one or two songs at a time for years before recording a full-length album. On their third proper studio record, Home, the bandmembers find themselves with their most polished production and their most varied musical palette, combining aggressive fast-paced hard-living tales with more subdued midtempo numbers. Fast songs like "Janie" and "Start Walking" find gruff vocals blending into melodic harmonies over speedy punk beats.
Off with Their Heads recorded their latest album at The Blasting Room with Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson so it sounds great, but that wouldn't matter if the songs themselves weren't present. Luckily, Home is teeming with soaring sing-alongs ("Focus on Your Own Family"), Rancid-worthy riffage ("Seek Advice Elsewhere"), and, yes, even the occasional ballad ("Don't Make Me Go"). Admittedly OWTH aren't covering ground that Against Me! or the Bouncing Souls haven't already tread in the past, but there's a palpable passion in frontman Ryan Young's voice that keeps these songs sounding inspired for the duration of the record.
The Twin Cities have been pumping out honest, gritty music for the last decade or more from artists like The Hold Steady and the Doomtree crew. The working-man ethos born from cold Midwestern cities underlies nearly everything from the area, both good or bad. The area’s latest export is Off With Their Heads’ (OWTH) third album, Home, and while it has potential, it can’t sustain its work ethic.