It’s not easy recording an EP in your basement. Trust me, I’ve done it before. Being a one-man-band isn’t a walk in the park. Sure, the freedom is there to do whatever it is you choose. But there are so many aspects of your sound that need to be intricately tweaked in order for the whole thing to sound right. And by “right”, I’m referring to the new standard that this EP sets.
Harlan Beeton was a sophomore in high school when he released Homes in March. Had he not informed us of that, I would have just assumed that Homes was a four-piece band of heavily experienced indie rockers. Now, I’m not implying that Beeton is inexperienced. He is objectively young, however, which is what makes this project that much more impressive.
Homes touches upon subjects that I feel like a lot of teenagers can relate to; love, feelings of depression and loneliness which Beeton describes as “the beauty of solitude.”
It makes sense that he enjoys the serenity in being alone. On the track “Right Boy” he describes his gravitation towards seclusion by admitting, “Sometimes all I’ll do is be alone.” The song really carries the entire project by characterizing the musician, himself, as a sulking teenager in a basement. Well, he’s actually not all that sad; just honest.
The lonely aesthetic that the EP emits is built around Beeton’s lyricism. “Feeling Things” is a track in which he goes back and forth between two roles. In the verse, he acts as a character who’s internally conflicted with admitting feelings of depression to a companion who responds to his admissions in the chorus with, “oh, don’t hide this from me again.” The song slowly builds with quick and subtle percussion that brings to mind the sound of an accelerated heartbeat, showing Beeton’s knack for equivocating lyrical emotion with his instrumentation.
Lyricism aside, Homes has a really tight, focused sound. The artist applies slapback delay to his vocals on most tracks including “Daughters” in which he sounds like an “indie rock” Steve Miller. I know that’s a outlandish point to make, but his vocals really reminded me of what musicians from the ‘70s used to do. It’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, he has a great sense of how to complement his vocals without becoming too experimental or extreme. Beeton also infuses a ton of ‘90s indie guitar playing on here as well; the type of chord structures that one would come up with after listening to Broken Social Scene for hours on end.
Where a lot of successful punk rock and pop punk musicians have simplified teenage angst to the point that it’s laughable, i.e. Simple Plan, Homes goes about the subject in a different, and ironically, more mature way. He identifies that he’s a bit of an outsider and that he enjoys his own company the most. Yet he’s never condescending or sour towards the rest of society. This is actually a really reflective project that shows humility without bumming everyone out.
I highly recommend that you listen to this EP, as well as Beeton’s other previous projects under his own name. This one, however, shows delightful musical ability and grand potential for the high schooler from Long Island.
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