The Welcome Home - The Dictionary Tree EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: September 25, 2008
It is interesting watching the wheels of rock music turn, remembering back in 1997 when The Get Up Kids first embarked on their journey to see softcore punk thrive with their debut album Four Minute Mile. And then observing over the years how bands like Saves the Day, Mae, Rookie of the Year, and a number of others veered their music in the same direction. Closing in on 2008, softcore punk is finding new flag bearers embodied in the music of Washington state’s own The Welcome Home. The band’s latest EP, The Dictionary Tree will no doubt put them on softcore punk’s map with songs that have the gravitational pull of Saves the Day and an endless supply of power rock rip chords relatable to Rookie of the Year. Produced by Ryan Furlott, the 5-track EP has the potential of becoming the next CD that people will want playing in their car as they go for a long drive to have some privacy with their innermost thoughts and emotions. It is an album that gives listeners space to investigate what is eating away at them.
From the start, the album falls into a pattern by which the songs have alternating vocal lines between lead singer/guitarist Gabe Mouer and backup vocalist/bass guitarist Jason Castro. They set up the songs to be a conversation between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The two do not go into battle, but work together as they try to figure out present conditions like in the song “It’s Frequent in French” with verses that interlock, “Hello, Sky, do you know where I can find hope for direction / I’m not sure I know where these patterns lead / But they shade like leaves from a dictionary… Satellite tell me now how everything is right / Cause I’m not losing sleep over this / We’re alone now, help me out!” The soft-punk tint of J.J. Hamilton’s keyboards and the pews of light but brisk rhythmic pattering from drummer Dallas Hansen move in unison with Mouer and Castro like a well-oiled machine.
The songs have a polished finish that makes them seem perfectly scripted, and yet, they show signs of being impulsive and spontaneous in the chord shifts and weight of the songs punk-infused dander. The tunes have a melodic density and a breezy stride that enables cracks of billowy piano keys to seep through the guitar rock slabs like in “This is Safety.” The band’s acoustics have a catchy rhyming scheme along “Keep Quiet” which displays the band’s versatility to reach outside of the realm of softcore punk, but it is the light and brisk punk-inspired riffs in tracks like “Art Galleries” and “You Like Black Magic” that preen of the band’s melodic luster.
The Welcome Home’s latest release, The Dictionary Tree EP keeps softcore punk’s engine running and the wheels of rock music rolling forward.