Album Reviews

Home – XV

(Cooking Vinyl) UK release date: 2 May 2005

XV has left me scratching my head. I can’t say I hate it, because I don’t; in fact it singularly failed to provoke any kind of emotional response. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Which is a bit of a worry, as I’ve got about four hundreds more words to get through before we’re done. Get ready for your ringside seats at the spectacle of a writer not waving but drowning in an attempt to extract a coherent piece out from the terrifying crannies of a blank mind.

So bear with me. It’ll be exciting at the very least, watching me walk the literary tightrope, wobbling with every forced sentence and with a very good possibility of failing and falling to a fiery doom. Something that will no doubt delight the rubberneckers, the ambulance chasers and those who know the meaning of the word schadenfreude.

But, we’ll give it a go. What do you want to know about this tabula rasa of an album? It’s not unpleasant. It doesn’t hurt to listen to. What else? It’s very lo-fi and geeky in a PavementFlamingLipsWeezer type way. Oh, and the use of punctuation in three song titles seems like a shy attempt to give them an additional emphasis that the music certainly doesn’t achieve. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that using an exclamation mark was like laughing at your own jokes, and I’m loath to disagree. What do you mean that’s lame? I’m trying my best here.

Two of the tracks actually sound just like other, better songs: the verses of River Of Gold replicates Everlasting Love to a precise degree and when Zenith Place picks up speed, the progression of the keys is a dead ringer for Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream. Train resembles a, no-shit-Sherlock, train and the goofily forced toughness of Hell, No made me remember a time when saying the word “hell” was the height of defiance, whereas now I can swear with impunity and no one bats a fucking eyelid.

Hear that? Yep, it’s the sound of the bottom of the barrel being scraped, but if you Google “Home XV”, you get a lot of articles on rugby. Yeah, I know that’s got nothing to do with anything but I thought you might be interested. No? Well, fine. You think you’re so clever, you finish the review. It’ll be like that BBC program where you had to write in and complete a short story. I think you won a prize…

Ok, apparently I’m not allowed to offer the readers prizes, so I’ll stop treading water and try and bring this to some kind of non-painful close so we can all go home to our families. Before listening to this I was surprised to find that Home had released fourteen albums as I had never heard of them. Having sat through XV I’m left wondering if it’s not that I hadn’t heard them, just that I couldn’t remember it.

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