Homecomings: Somehow, Somewhere

Somehow, Somewhere

CD, Second Royal/Felicity, 2014

One of the standout acts of Fuji Rock’s Rookie A Go-Go new bands stage in 2013 (they were beaten in the voting by a novelty band of dancing prawns), Homecomings have had a productive 2014 with March’s I Want You Back EP/mini-album, the July vinyl release of their 2013 Homecoming with Me? Mini-album, a September split single/collaboration with singer-songwriter Sachie Hiraga, and now this first full length album just in time for Christmas. Rather than a purely UK/US-styled twee/indiepop band, Homecomings’ melodies feel more like indiepop-arranged J-pop. There’s so much crossover in elements that it’s not a cut-and-dried thing by any means, and while the Supremes Cant Hurry Love beat that underlies Dancing in the Moonlight is definitely one rooted in the Motown tradition, it’s also one beloved of 80s/90s kayoukyoku/J-pop songwriters, and it’s that latter tradition that the breezy (but not at all bluesy) melody fits most easily into. Similarly, on songs like Mall, it’s clear the tremendous, probably subliminal, influence the himself very Western-influenced Eiichi Ohtaki continues to have over indiepop songwriters in Japan. Rather like For Tracy Hyde earlier this year, Homecomings leave a sense of Japanese pop songwriting habits and Western indie styles inextricably mixed together in a way that manages to be satisfying to both traditions. But the real thing that defines Homecomings’ sound is the harmonies and backing vocals, and as the album progresses, they crawl under your skin, rarely jumping out at you, but along with the simple, bouncy guitar solos they are an ever present feature of the music. From start to finish Somehow, Somewhere is light and fluffy as a soufflé, but as one unassumingly presented yet expertly crafted tune after another makes its way out of the speakers, it becomes clearer and clearer that the sum total of Homecomings’ diaphanous parts is something far more substantial.

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