The Welcome Home - Against A Great Machine
Release Date: March 22th, 2011
Record Label: Unsigned
Earlier in the year, I suggested emo could be 2011’s comeback kid. At the time, I made that statement based on the emergence of bands like Daytrader, as well as the return of Joshua and Further Seems Forever. Here to add credibility to my admittedly somewhat farfetched claim is The Welcome Home, a small Portland, Oregon band you can easily tag as RIYL: The Get Up Kids, The Promise Ring, and a smidgeon of Daphne Loves Derby. You like this brand of emo? Pick up Against A Great Machine already! It won’t let you down, I promise.
I can say that with confidence because Against A Great Machine is delightfully fulfilling coming from a band with just 287 “likes” on Facebook (for now). It’s 6 tracks of well-written glossy, eccentric pop: The melodies are carefully calculated, flirting and falling in love with jagged time signatures before bursting into full-fledged pop choruses. I know I’ve gone into my adjective-happy mode here, but what I’m really trying to say is that this album is probably my favorite piece of work by an unsigned band yet this year. Even if you feel these songs only have “potential,” The Welcome Home are wholly worth keeping tabs on.
“It’s Hook or Me This Time” is probably the most smoothly executed track, letting faint jazz vibes sneak into its snarky riffs, but it can be hard to pick a genuine favorite. The mood is pretty consistent throughout the album, which touches on life with a lot of lyrical flair; sometimes, it’s frank, like when it says “’cause I won’t stand to settle for this goddamn place at age 22,” though mostly, it weaves its words with a careful artistry (“We are against a great machine, abiding a changeless protocol. Damn the great machine, steadfast like us all”). Combine this with some tight songwriting and you’re left with some intriguing music.
Against A Great Machine finds a band early in its career, but really sounds several years more mature. There’s an atmosphere of luxury here; this isn’t a new band trying to get you to listen to their lo-fi demo, it’s a new band that’s polished both in talent and recording. The Welcome Home sound ready to show their sound to the world – not bad at all for a debut full-length.