Every so often, an audacious band comes around that breaks free from the creative constraints of eye-rolling genre limitations – HOME BLITZ is a prime example of this enterprising spirit. Hailing from Princeton, New Jersey, their second full-length, Foremost & Fair is now available on Richie Records.
There’s no point in ignoring the comparison: from its very first second, Foremost & Fair instantly recalls the brashly independent spirit of Game Theory, an unclassifiable band that was nonetheless vaguely associated with the California-based Paisley Underground ‘movement’ (perhaps less a full-fledged scene than a shared mindset). Game Theory released a string of mostly overlooked albums back in the ’80s and like Home Blitz was also a mixed-gender outfit (In welcome news for everyone, they are belatedly beginning to receive their considerable due thanks to some well-timed reissues over the past year courtesy of Omnivore Recordings).
Home Blitz bring the same mesmerizing amalgam of styles to the table, running the gamut from Jefferson Airplane-esque psychedelic folk to R.E.M.-inspired jangle pop, culminating in their own unique, gleefully distorted lo-fi rock. Throughout Foremost & Fair’s twelve tracks, listeners are treated to an engaging platter of subconscious, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, sprightly baroque percussion, analog synthesizer beats, and terse, jittery rhythms – often all within the same song.
Just like all of us, and indeed the country as a whole, Home Blitz has changed a lot since 2009, and the progress they’ve made since their nascent debut that year is demonstrated most clearly in the recording quality and disciplined finesse present here. In general, the production has improved by leaps and bounds, sounding more crisp and vibrant than their earlier work, yet managing to continue capturing the early raw, emboldened promise embodied within this special band. At under two minutes, the opening track “Seven Thirty” rushes by in vigorous fashion, evoking memories of youthful crushes and surging forth at the breakneck speed of train-of-thought. In doing so, Home Blitz establish an optimistic, adventurous tone – they may be lost, but for what it’s worth, they’re happy to enjoy the journey.
This buoyant, inclusive spirit remains in place for most of the album, only retreating for a short period during “The Hail” – a melodramatic cut that speaks enigmatically of living “clocked out” and “frozen in fear.” If Black Sabbath had been formed by 21st century indie kids, this is what their influential proto-sludge metal track “Snowblind” may have sounded like. Meanwhile, “Tell Me There” carries itself with a cheery melody supported by harpsichord instrumentation. It’s followed by the spur-of-the-moment “Why It Cries”, an experimental track that produces a feeling of nervous energy and resembles a late-night soundcheck, before unexpectedly collapsing into itself in a traditional Scottish jig. This odd stylistic detour makes more sense in the light of singer Daniel DiMaggio’s fascination with traditional British folk music. Delicate piano chords and acoustic guitar are occasionally employed, though DiMaggio’s bright tenor is always front-and-center.
Lyrically, this album speaks intimately to the outsider within us all: DiMaggio’s words are rarely anything but comforting, as if to assure the listener that it’s okay to sometimes feel lonely, just keep in mind you’re never entirely alone. In the vast field occupied by slightly-deranged post-shoegazers, not only do Home Blitz sound unlike any of their contemporaries, they hit a crowd-pleasing home run – Foremost & Fair is timeless music, pure and simple.
Genre/ Tags: Pop, Garage Rock, Lo-Fi
Foremost & Fair LP: Tracklist:
1.) Seven Thirty
2.) I’m That Key
3.) The Tide
4.) A in E
6.) The Hall
7.) Betton Hill
8.) Tell Me There
9.) Why It Cries
10.) Sick and Crazy
12.) Cutting the Cross