CD REVIEW Homer

Band : Homer
Album title : The Politics Of Make Believe
Label : Funtime Records – Bad Mood Records
Distributor : Funtime Records
Release date : 27/03/2012
Release : CD (also as LP)

I've said it before...and am therefore saying it again...but an Homer release is something to look out for with positive anticipation. Another thing I've mentioned before, is Concrete Web's constant delay in getting Homer albums (or, for that fact, anything coming from their label, Funtime Records) with a certain delay.

Part of that has to do with the label itself, who wait around doing their promotion until they have the album's hard copy. But that's only a small part. This time there were definitely other people to “blame” for the delay in getting this review out. Firstly, there's our editor-in-chief, whom has the habit to wait around until he can find an image of the album cover before he distributes the album among his collaborators. This Spring however, The Chief has had a lot of troubles. With his new work, with his old girlfriend, with his new girlfriend, eventually also with his health. Evidently, all of those conditions conspired to get the website some delay. Last and certainly not wanting to say the least...there's myself to blame, as I've had the album in my possession since the last week of July. Of course, at the same time (actually the beginning of a week-and-a-half of well-earned holidays, filled in advance with several activities unrelated to the “music business”) the editor-in-chief also unloaded onto me 37 other albums...and barely 3 weeks later he charged me with 44 more reviews to be done. Ach...stop bitchin', get the job done!

In the beginning (1998) they (members of PN and Billy Liar) got together with the thought that the world needed a Punkband with loud guitars and something critical to say. Of course, they were right about the latter opinion, as there were already too many PopPunk acts diminishing the Punk idiom with their silly personal lyrics (a lot of which had to do with girl trouble, or the contrary). The audiences felt quite okay with that as well, as the band's debut full-length, 2001's Painting Memories (which followed 1999's split release with Billy Liar – and thàt being the very first Funtime release too!) was met with enthusiasm and rave reviews. Since then, the band tours on a regular basis, they've dons support slots for some of the bigger bands in the scene (Comeback Kid, Ignite, BoySetsFire to name but a few), and have seen playing at several festivals (Groezrock, Rock Herk, Rio Rock, and other places) on a regular basis as well. I'm not sure when the change with Homer came about, but somewhere along the line the band's originally somewhat bland combination of American and Swedish PunkRock/ Hardcore of the late '80s wave got an underlaying intensity, which made the material that much more interesting. Could be, the change of members that occurred over the years have seen the Quinten brothers (guitarist/ backing singer Bert and lead singer Johan) being able to push through their vision a bit more clearly, but personally I feel that all of the sudden Bert got into his own style, which has graced Homer albums ever since.

Meanwhile, the band is at its fifth full-length release, and if indeed it is their most pissed-off album so far (so stated in the bio which, after all, was made by the guys themselves, you know!?), the guys certainly have had reason to be angry, what with all the things that have been happening to 'em in those years since the last album, 2009's Wasteland Reflections [P.S.: in 2011, Wasteland Reflections was followed by a split 7-inch with Actionmen (with a foretaste for The Politics Of Make Belief in the song “Vamos!”) and a split DVD with The Rocket (both Funtime bands, if I'm not mistaken). In the same year Austrian label LABL also released a limited edition 3-LP box set (only 200 copies made, apparently!) including the albums Punkrock Verses (2005), Swan Songs For Broken Voices (2007) and Wasteland Memories]. Johan not only lost his job in Leuven's music shop JJ Records due to too demanding real estate agents (the house the shop was in was bought, and sure, the shop could stay, but only at a considerable raise of the rent...and that would only have been at their own expense, as the guys didn't even consider having the clients pay more – duh...as it was, the album selling business was slacking already anyway!), but also saw an amical ending to his own band PN (the two actually happening real close to each other too). Actually, I haven't spoken to him since the closure of the store, so perhaps there's been other stuff in his personal life. And as for what might've happened in the lives of the other Homer members...we only have the general guideline of the album's lyrics to tell us something about that (I mean, it's not like these guys are gonna send out their troubles through one of the “social network medias” out there, like so many of you airheads seem to do these days – in your face, book! Get the pun?).

Having worked with renowned Belgian producers in the past, this new album sees the band more on its own two feet than ever, as The Politics Of Make Believe was produced by the band's own Mattias Vos (bass; joined band in 2003, which has had a steady line-up ever since, including also drummer Wannes Vanvoorden, who'd been occupying the stool behind the kit since 1999 already), before being mastered (but that's actually almost a tradition nowadays) by Alan Douches at New York's West West Side Music studios. The band closes its bio with the sentences, “...They've been adding more layers to their sound with every subsequent album, incorporating elements from Metal and Hardcore alike...”, wha'd I tell ya?, “...It has all led up to the release of the monster that is The Politics Of Make Belief, Homer's darkest album to date.” and hey, when you're talking about “politics”, are you not indeed talking about the seediest part of humanity? It's enough to get you screaming at he top of your lungs...which is exactly what Bert does, leaving the cleaner vocals to his brother (whom still gets to spit out his anger occasionally as well, you know...and evidently Bert also occasionally backs his brother with far cleaner vocal stylings).

To listen to material off the album, you're best off checking the album's page at bandcamp (check link in “Music” section of the band's facebook page. The “Bandpage” includes an additonal song in the aforementioned “Vamos!”, and two songs off older albums (for more older material, check out the band's MySpace page). And so, in conclusion, I've got myself a new “Album Of The Year 2012”-list item here. Petty the promotion my side comes so late, as I'm sure the band itself is probably through a lot of its promotional touring for the album already. Speaking of which, I guess I'll have to hurry to ask Johan to send me a copy of the album (preferably vinyl), as this promo copy gets swallowed up in The Chief's collection!

98/100

Tony.