The appeal of power punk continues its angsty march through youth culture with the release of Hell by Home Movies. LA-based Home Movies travels well-trodden ground in a most enjoyable fashion, demonstrating a general commitment to high musical skills while remaining firmly in the pop punk tradition of fuzzy guitars, flatly inflected vocals, and quality rhythm.
Title and opening track “Hell” starts out pounding its way into a three-minute diatribe against the kinds of things we never have control over, firmly establishing the band’s cred as a power-punk outfit before stretching their legs a tiny bit with track two.
Home Movies allows “Faith and Folly” to travel its own path, frequently abandoning the continuous wall of sound most power punk bands feel is a necessary component to their styling. The track remains firmly pop punk, but opens out the sound to more variety than we’ve come to expect from a typical genre band. The tempo slows down a bit at first, but the back two-thirds crunch out the power punk that dominates the EP’s sound.
“The Will of Fire” returns to straight-up power punk and relationship whining. This track is the most pedestrian and typical of all of Hell’s tunes so the smart move was to bury it in the middle of the four superior tracks.
The EP’s penultimate track, “The Winds” qualifies as a power punk power ballad, slowing down the tempo and giving us an acoustical journey through the mourning of a relationship. Even if the lyrics lack some originality, the music comes across as heartfelt and a nice change of pace we don’t normally find on a pop punk album or EP. The best news is that this isn’t treacly pap like the last 80s power ballad movement became.
Capping the five tunes is “Fickle,” another fast-paced power punk track. However, “Fickle” feels the most radio-friendly, with its really excessively catchy melody, its slower-tempo bridge and slow fade ending.
Home Movies’ Hell EP serves up a meat and potatoes power punk meal with a couple non-traditional sides to show a bit more range than a typical power-punk outfit. If you’re into the power punk thing you’ll enjoy these five tunes.