Review: Across All Oceans – Homegrown

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Image: Album artwork

When we think emo, we think uber-tight skinny jeans, thick, black fringes and snakebite piercings. But, for those who don’t actually remember the birth of emo, that’s not where it all really started. With Homegrown, the latest EP from Middlesborough quintet Across All Oceans, our memories are refreshed with that long-forgotten organic emo sound.

Merging the atmospheric with the alternative is something we’d expect from alt-indie bands who like to create musical ambience. With Across All Oceans, we hear a slow, sensual opener in ‘Everywhere But Home’ before it breaks into an unexpected ferocity of throaty hardcore, throwing ethereal vibrations and callous brutality together in a whole new way.

Permanence’ then shakes off the ambient in favour of straight-up pop-punk with a snappy tempo and short riffs that don’t mess around. Even with this more light-hearted offering, Across All Oceans still draw a more mature, hardened sound that speaks of down-to-earth, real-life experience beyond their years.

Slowing the pace is ‘Monophobia’, another other-worldly track in which ghosts of abandonment, loneliness and resentment are made clear from the painful, bittersweet lyrics and strangled voice that screams them. There is real emotion behind ‘Monophobia’ that cuts to the core. That, kids, is what emo music is truly about.

We move onto title track ‘Homegrown’, aptly named with its lo-fi, budget basement sound. This track has a feeling of being, in fact, homegrown, with a back-to-basics authenticity that plants itself firmly in earthy, homey roots. You can just imagine this punk tune being recorded in the living room on a Tuesday afternoon, and there’s something incredibly endearing about that.

The EP ends with ‘Eston Square’, a touching track that muddles in catchy pop-punk melodies and excruciating screams while yet again playing with an atmospheric air. Stopping short with an abrupt final note that leaves us desperately begging for more, Across All Oceans have played this EP just perfectly.

Across All Oceans show real heart and soul with Homegrown, and are sure to capture a whole new generation who are about to get a formal education in what emo really means.

Homegrown is released on February 22nd 2016 via self-release.

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