[Album Review] The Backhomes- Tidal Wave
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Release Date: May 5th, 2015
Label: Independent

In their short two years of existence The Backhomes have made huge strides forward. Not that they ever sucked. Their debut album ‘Only Friend’ was a rock solid offering of reverb-rich psych pop. But the duo of Kees Dekker and Aimee Van Drimmelen have made a stylistic and figurative leap into the future with their new album ‘Tidalwave’.

“That’s All” opens the album on an ominous tone. A dystopian beat and inhuman, disconnected vocals give you the sense that we are hurtling inevitably towards a dark future. The tension eases just a little on the next two tracks. The introduction of electric guitars on “Solid Gold” lends a more grounded touch. There may still be danger ahead, but at least its one you can relate to. The swirling synths and psychedelic air of “The Chase” is more familiar territory still, but things remain unsettling.

After a keyboard/guitar instrumental break, “Rays” leads us into the most comfortable surroundings yet. It’s a bluegrass pastiche, but with a real twist as the electronic keyboard overtones give it a weird vibe. Those weird vibes continue with the title track, which sounds like Joshua Tree-era US played in a krautrock nightclub.

The Backhomes close out the album somewhat ambiguously. “One More Time” and “Pre-Utopian” are dreamy, washed in waves of synths. This may suggest that there could be a bright future after all. And yet there is a slight edge of unease, potentially turning this pleasant dream into a nightmare. It serves to reminds us how close our good dreams are to our bad ones – it’s a nuanced difference.

The Backhomes, with their futuristic sounds, are alerting us to the fact that the future is unknown, something that we innately fear. Whether it will turn out to be as ghastly as our worst nightmares or as heavenly as our sweetest dreams may come down to the subtle difference in how we perceive it.