Home Is Where are set to release their latest effort, I Became Birds, on March 5, 2021 via Knifepunch Records. From the album art depicting a rather famous photo from the 1970s Enfield Poltergeist story to the extraordinarily layered genre influences, I Became Birds is an album that showcases Home Is Where’s ability to tell a uniquely captivating story.
The first track, “L Ron Hubbard Was Way Cool,” begins with a slow, folksy intro with a vocal style that reminds me of a darker version of The Front Bottoms or Mom Jeans. The song fills out gradually, incorporating heavy rock riffs and emotive screams with a surprising (but oh, so perfect) appearance of trumpet to polish off the album’s emotionally heavy intro track.
Next, “Long Distance Conjoined Twins” is a sunny, folk pop-driven song that includes harmonica and a driving, anthemic chorus beat throughout. This song makes me want to dance barefoot in a desert during a break on a long road trip.
These mid-album tracks, “Sewn Together from the Membrane of the Great Sea Cucumber,” and “The Scientific Classification of Sting Rays” are both perfect examples of the band’s ability to progressively grow in intensity in order to cultivate an explosive and cathartic experience – one I can only imagine is unmatched at a live show. And for the record, I also “want to pet every puppy I see,” so much that it makes me want to scream sometimes. These songs, to me, signify the addressing of the main conflict in the album’s storyline. With each second, we inch closer and closer to the apex of chaotic intensity as we clash with the main problem, face-on. There is an ephemeral slow down at the end of “Sewn Together from the Membrane of the Great Sea Cucumber” before jumping back in for a less-chaotic, but still just as intense, round-two tussle with “The Scientific Classification of Sting Rays.”
“Assisted Harakiri,” hits hard and fast with punk riffs and jangly guitar notes reminiscent of midwest emo’s noddly hooks. The combination of vocal style and emo riffage gives me Touché Amoré and Hot Mulligan vibes and the mixed push and pull of the punk-esque intensity and pop-driven hooks really makes this one stand out to me. The overall tone of this one, while still intense, seems to feel a bit more optimistic than the previous tracks on the album.
Finally, in the closer “The Old Country,” the harmonica is BACK in this acoustic folk track. Because of the stark rawness of this song, the lyrics are very prominent and it allows listeners to really sink their teeth into the band’s knack for eccentrically unique lyricism. As this song closes, we seem to have reached the calm after the storm and the album slowly fades out with bright harmonica and easy-going acoustic guitar, alluding to a “happily ever after” resolution.
From bright and sunny folk to brain-melting intensity, I Became Birds takes listeners on a hero’s journey. Home Is Where’s ability to communicate their intentions in such a succinctly captivating piece of work, allows listeners to revisit the album over and over again, returning to unpack the excellent storywork each and every time.