8 Jul 2010 in Highland, Music

Ceol-Mor, Inverness, 4 July 2010



WITH THEIR debut EP ‘Sleepless Nights’ earning a pretty impressive response across the board and standout ‘All I See’ being selected as track of the month in the influential Under the Radar column, Homework took a break from the studio to preview tracks from their forthcoming debut on a short Scottish tour which closed at Ceol-Mor. Support came from local four-piece Sara Bills and the Hasbeens.

The Inverness act delivered a promising set of dark, laid-back country-tinged offerings which consistently flickered with moments of real quality. They mix their fairly down-beat Americana with heartening pop undercurrents, on occasion to great effect, and are certainly a local group to keep a close eye on.

Despite being based in Edinburgh, three quarters of Homework have their roots in the Highlands, with Oli and Richard Kass hailing from Inverness and Ross Baird from Mull, which ensured this end-of-tour performance had a real homecoming feel.

Homework’s musical habitat is a place of murky indie wanderings, blistering electronic breaks, some irresistible hooks and darkly intelligent lyrics. They sit somewhere between other Scottish gems such as the excellent FOUND and The Phantom Band, but rarely veer too close to either, retaining an intriguing stylistic originality.

What is also impressive here is the way Homework manage to be experimental, forward thinking, clever and thought-provoking without becoming obfuscatory or pretentious. They are also economic with their instrumentation, careful to ensure the mix of standard set-up and live electronics always benefits the track, but above all, they are accessible, fresh and genuinely exciting.

In a set which was strong throughout, ‘All I see’ was electric, it’s a glimmeringly infectious slice of indie pop which sparkles with an instant cool and stays with you long after the performance. Closer ‘We Should Not Regress’ is also awesome; it slowly stirs and builds into a euphorically melodic pay-off which sounds simply huge.

Despite some technical issues around some of the programming equipment and a few other technical issues, the energy remained high across the entirety of a set which also boasted some technically excellent performances, as you may expect from music school graduates, although once or twice this became a little clinical and a couple of the tracks lost momentum as the arrangements dragged into circular territory.

On the whole however, Homework remain one of the most exciting new bands around and there was more than enough offered tonight to ensure expectations remain high for their debut release. Fantastic.

© Alexander Smith, 2010