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June 21, 2024

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Home Grown
Act Your Age (Outpost Recordings)

By: Alex Steininger

Southern California is known for its pop-punk sound, and hailing from this region, Home Grown definitely embodies this sound. Their music is nothing original, and nothing that isn't pouring out of Southern California. A bit of ska mixed in with pop-punk, the difference lies in the lyrics, humor, and teen angst shots that are all over the music. On their debut record for Geffen subsidiary, Outpost Recordings, they serve up fifteen tracks that display their pain and humor towards the growing process.

The first song that really caught my attention and made me start paying attention to this album was "She's Anti," a song about a female who goes 'ballistic' and kills everyone at school. Tragic as it is, and as far fetched as it sounds, the song really hit home due in fact to a recent happening in Springfield, Oregon. A kid went into the lunch room at his local high school with three guns, including a rifle, and opened fire in the cafeteria. A few were killed, a bunch were seriously hurt, and a few others were taken to the hospital for minor gunshot wounds. The Oregon news media covered this for a few days straight, and the President even addressed the issue. You may or may not have heard about it, but after watching a few hours of news coverage on this tragedy, and everyone from the local grocery store to the water cooler talking about it, I felt too close to this song. A deadly foreshadow detailing everything that is wrong with our schools and the possibilities that can come from isolation. What is even more interesting is how Home Grown attacks this problem. The lyrics are written to the point that any child could understand them, but they still pack a punch and get their message across. The music is upbeat, very poppy, and has a bit of a punk torch burning inside it. Beautiful backing vocals add even more melody, while the whole song is a contradiction in itself. Well crafted pop hooks over sad lyrics, this song has the ability to keep you interested while subliminally sending you messages that will touch your heart.

Taking this approach to every song, the lyrics have a very teen-angst ridden quality to them, while the music is always upbeat and poppy, giving you a smile no matter what the topic of interest may be. Furthermore, while you're sitting there bouncing around and enjoying the music, the lyrics will remind you of what growing up means, and anyone who is, or has went through the growing up process (that means everyone...) will easily relate to the music.

Home Grown has definitely shown they have grown up a bit on their major label debut. From their previous indie releases, although catchy and loaded with teen tales, this one shows a more consistent quality level. Each track has the ability to become your favorite, and that is an important factor in choosing any album. If you're into pop-punk, and want some music that will help you cope with high school and other life issues, then this album will suit you well. I'll give it an A-.

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