The Homesick – The Big Exercise

It is not often that we find something that flows so well and yet gets increasingly deep with every listen.

The Big Exercise has so many layers in its construction, that you can look closely into every element and you’d find something interesting. With rhythm changes that don’t hesitate, sonic ideas glistening with airy flourishes and instrument choices that spin around the imagination. The Homesick has managed to do something perplexing. The album is undeniably pop, lending itself well to casual listening, but the individual parts that members Jaap van der Velde, Erik Woudwijk and Elias Elgersma used to concoct this primordial soup of goodness, takes us on a trippy experience that’s equal parts chaotic and spiritual.

We hear this right off the bat with the aptly named opener “What’s in Store”. Sparkling strings blink in staccato rhythm with the sound of flowing water and shimmering keys in the background, a dynamic tune that signals you to strap in for the next nine tracks. 

“Children’s Day” comes in with it’s marching drum rhythm. A militaristic theme progresses throughout the track. The robotic delivery of the lines wittingly mock the bleakness of adult life as it sings “Every dream I can dream / Always ends with a left”.

The masterful drumming continues with “Pawing”, the fills variate with every section of the song, weaving intricately as it shifts from restless urgency to graceful cadence.

“I Celebrate My Fantasy” is a dream sequence made into song. The rhythm section bounces around, anxious and fidgety. Eerie guitar riffs mingle with the haunting vocals and it ends with a tapestry of erratic changes. There’s a prevailing sense of immediacy here, as it sings about waking up from the depths of sleep paralysis.  

The title track is brimming with kinetic force, the intro riff for “The Big “Exercise” is light and fluffy, a hook that’s sure to get stuck in your head. The bridge coalesces into chaos and everything descends into a minor key gloom, it progresses further to a tangled mush until it masterfully resolves back to the intro riff. A satisfying end to an intricate 4 min journey.

“Male Bonding” seems to be the final evolution of this whole expedition. A culmination of everything that’s come before with the dial turned up to eleven. This one defies the limits of abstraction, as it shifts from cloudy wistfulness to utter madness. Seeing the music video definitely helps.

The Big Exercise is full of imaginative ideas crafted into sonic form. A great highlight is the rhythm work that’s displayed all throughout the album. The drums really provide the dynamism that’s needed for something as curious and otherworldly as this 40 minute dream trip. 

The Homesick has definitely transcended a step further from their angular post-punk roots into something that’s wildly eccentric. This whimsical exploration of what’s possible under the pop umbrella is something that everyone should sink their teeth into. A few more listens are needed to get the full hypnotizing effect of this roller-coaster ride but I’m sure that wouldn’t be a problem at all.

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