tue 21/05/2024

CD: Homework - 13 Towers | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Homework - 13 Towers

CD: Homework - 13 Towers

Riveting debut from barely known Scottish synth-rockers

Homework, not Kraftwerk, though confusion is undoubtedly encouraged

Straight out of Dumfries, Mull and Inverness, via Edinburgh, with a sound and songs that boast originality and imagination, Homework are small in profile but already nigh-on perfectly formed. Their name, judging from the album cover and sounds within, is a nod to Kraftwerk, but 13 Towers is no retro synth-fest.

This four-piece combine electronic effects, pulses and tones with guitars and modern, driving, catchy songs. Not for them, either, the currently in-vogue Vampire Weekend-with-a-synth route. Theirs is not bland indie with slight electronic trimmings. Instead they draw on all sorts of curious references, make hay with lyrical flights of fancy and even have an anthemic rock song in the making in “6s and 7s”.

These 12 songs all showcase clear-eyed musical ambition. From the pulsing “Wouldn’t You Love”, with its touches of New York post-punk, to “All I See”’s ever-repeating, mantric ear-worm of a chorus – “Lifestyle, no style, meanwhile, more, more money/Hot style, tactile, fact file, constant worry” – every number is tightly constructed and individual. Throughout, there are no attempts to temper accents and the singing is noticeably Scottish in a way few artists allow; also new wavey and strident. The mood varies from pulsing electro-pop to something more gothic, a couple of tracks recollecting long lost Bauhaus off-shoot Love & Rockets, and then the album closes with a psychedelic guitar meltdown worthy of Homework’s countrymen Mogwai.

If there’s a criticism, it’s that the production is flat and not dynamic, possibly too straight a sound-desk representation of their festival-slaying live set without all the bells and whistles a decent producer could bring to the picture. The songs are there, though, with ideas buzzing from them 10 to the dozen and a sense that Homework, formed in 2009, have just reached the bottom rung of a ladder they've the potential to clamber good and high.

Watch the video for "It's All Over"

Throughout, there are no attempts to temper accents and the singing is noticeably Scottish in a way few artists allow

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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