Review: Well Kept Things, ‘Homegrown’
Buffalo seems to be a hub for my favorite bands in pop punk. I’ve talked about I Can See Mountains time and time again, and often use both the immediate grasp and staying power ‘Life On A Houseboat’ as a base comparison for any record that I listen to. Have I felt that way about a record again recently? Yes. Ask me to talk to you about The Hotelier’s ‘Home Like Noplace Is There’ or a tbd album that will be talked about sooner than you think. Neither of those bands are pop punk bands. It’s been a long while since I’ve been totally and completely grabbed to the point of immediate infatuation by a pop punk band.
Then I heard “Great White North” by a band called Well Kept Things. The first play of this song felt like a punch in the gut, but I had to keep going back. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I Can See Mountains is pretty much defunct and I had been severely missing that brand of pop punk. Well Kept Things however, fit that mold perfectly. Some of the lyrics feel a little nonsensical but were disguised as either the impossibly huge hook or the out-of-nowhere bridge. I could never have thought to hear myself singing along to “Hey prolonged design student/I really wish I had a Canadian accent,” but I do every time. I don’t know that I was done with the second listen before I had sent the email to James of Antique Records about reviewing the forthcoming ‘Homegrown’ EP.
‘Homegrown’ opens with some chatter, an affirmation of sorts, and one hell of a bassline. We’re told pretty early on to sit back and relax, and with that, I put a lot of faith in Well Kept Things to meet expectation. “Traffic Jam” is a little slower than I would like it to be, but I can deal with that. One of my favorite lines on the EP comes from this song. “I need you to see my sad/like you know I am/a constant traffic jam/backs up my head” just feels more and more poignant the more I hear it.
“Coasting” is a three minute non-stop banger. It’s an immediate single that will surely see a semi-permanent home in future set lists. I don’t want to harp on the I Can See Mountains comparison, but the whole of this song feels just as huge as the chorus to “The Tigers Have Found Me and I Do Not Care.” Both of which are insanely catchy and just fun to listen to/sing along with. It’s not anything that needs to try and grab your attention, the size of it just kind of pulls you in.
Listening to ‘Homegrown’ from front to back allowed to me feel infatuated with pop punk again, even if it was only in glimpses. I know that Well Kept Things is one of few bands that will continue to anchor me to pop punk, showing that not every band needs to succumb to the current tropes to make music that needs to be heard. I’m so excited to see what comes next for these guys. Whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll love it. Leave it to Buffalo to have me pining for pop punk. 4/5