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Recording:
  Home Free  
 
Artist:
  The Besties  
 
Label:
  Hugpatch  
 
Release Date:
 

3.February.2009

 
 
Reviewed by:
  PostLibyan  
         
 
Rating:
   
         
 
Review:
 

It has been a long time since we checked in with The Besties, a charming synthpop three piece. In the time since their debut Singer EP, the band has recorded two albums. This is their second full-length, and by now the trio has grown into a quartet, ditching their drum machine in favor of a real drummer.

In addition to actual drumming (which i consider to be an improvement), Home Free is more guitar heavy than Singer. Don't get me wrong there are still a lot of keyboards, but the guitars are taking a more upfront role. However, the rhythms are still bouncy and the female vocals still sound happy.

The Besties do not make "heavy" music that makes you ponder your existence. Instead they make fun tunes for bouncing along and singing loudly in the car. There is a place for both serious and silly types of music, but a lot of people will dismiss Home Free as just a frivolous pop album. I feel sorry for such people they probably really need to relax a bit.

But i digress. The Besties make light pop music, and i have to admit that the band appears to have grown quite nicely in the past few years. The music is more fleshed out here, the songs come across as a little richer than before. Also, on that debut EP, they sang about how the songs don't have titles because it is "too much trouble". Well, they are taking that extra effort, and the songs here have proper titles.

Several of the tunes are really strong. The album kicks off with Right Band, Wrong Song, a ditty that contemplates the disappointment that we all feel at some shows. I never knew that the bands on stage could sense that everyone else just wanted them to hurry up and get it over with, but in listening to this tune, i think that The Besties are singing as the band who needs to hurry up and get it over with. Still, there is a great acoustic guitar riff and lovely vocal harmonies.

Another great track is What Would Tim Armstrong Do?, which is of course about the vocalist in Rancid. You wouldn't immediately think of The Besties as a "punk band", but if you read their MySpace, you will see that such music is a big influence on them, and their songs are rather speedy with crunchy power chords in a vaguely punk sense. Of course, the organ that drives this tune is more Yes than Rancid, but the general spirit is there. Anyway, this is another fun tune, and it is the song on Home Free that reminds me the most of Singer. I think it is the organ-y keyboards which were so prevalent on the EP. In general, this album features a wide range of keyboard patches, but the use of the organ here really takes me back.

Night Watch is a different type of tune for The Besties. If WWTAD? was their punk tune, this slow ballad with rolling pianos and tapped drums is a 60s girl group number. And well done too. Vocalists Marisa and Kelly harmonize really well here.

The rest of the album tends to fluctuate between tunes that are punkier (The Gothenberg Handshake or St. Francis) and tunes that are more girl-groupish (Birthday or Julie Jane). It's is a good mix, and The Besties really pull it off.

I do have one disappointment with Home Free that i must point out. A couple of years ago, back when they still used the drum machine, the trio recorded a love song to the building they lived in and posted it on their website in convenient MP3 form. The song is 79 Lorimer, and it is re-recorded here. The new version is sped up and polished to a sheen, with driving drums, dense keyboards, and tight vocal harmonies. It's a great tune, but i miss the raw charm of that demo version. I miss hearing guitarist Ricky yelling during the chorus, and the two female voices out of sync as they sang about "The metal band that plays upstairs". I guess since i really liked the demo, i am put off by the polished sheen of this new version, but i suspect that had i heard this first, i would like it and find the demo "too rough".

Overall, i am rather impressed with this record. The Besties continue to make fun pop. I hope that they keep it up. If you need a fun album to listen to, bounce along with, and sing along to, then you would do well to pick up a copy of Home Free.

 
         
 
Related Links:
 

Label Website: http://www.hugpatch.com/
Artist Website: http://www.thebesties.com/
Artist MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thebesties
Also on EvilSponge:
    EP: Singer

 
         

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