Like many new, young, pop-punk outfits, Homebound “grew up on pop punk”, states Farnham quintet frontman, Charlie Boughton. Unlike many new, young, pop-punk outfits, the band thrive off the memorable and catchy sound they create, setting themselves apart from the majority with their distinct and noticeable sound. The past year has been spent almost continuously writing, compiling a total of eleven song for their debut EP, which whittled down to the six tight tracks which make up Come Of Age. There’s little to be read into the title, as Charlie explains, “the lyrics deal with that time in life when you start having to make decisions regarding your ‘future’. You spend your whole life up until around 18, knowing exactly what’s coming next. A path is mapped out for you, and you never really have to think for yourself. And I’m just like any person my age, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with myself… I still don’t.” Describing the release as a “hugely satisfying milestone”, the band have produced a release they are clearly proud of – and not wrongly so.
One and a half minute opener, Valour, ticks all the boxes on the pop-punk debut-EP cliche checklist with the instrumental introduction, building up to the half sang/half shouted vocals that take their turn to control the track. If it weren’t for its length, there would be no reason why this song should be placed at the start of the record; it has neither the calm breaking-in sound or the harsh statement attitude of many EP openers, and there’s something undeniably refreshing in that. The track is simply solid and, for lack of a starker word, good – it doesn’t need to be more elaborate to grab attention, and sets the band in good stead for the rest of the record.
Second track, Turning Point, bursts straight in with clear vocals and determination, creating a track that is almost solely driven by Charlie’s voice, albeit giving way at the half way point for a few seconds of guitar focus, and again later for the mini-drum solo. “I don’t want regrets that I’ll never forget”, slips back into the playing-it-safe cliches of pop-punk lyricism, but the self-preserving tinged flippancy of the proclaimed “forget it, forget it” hits home with its brutal realism at the close of the song.
Electric and percussion driven High Ground makes the third off the EP, with anthem-like and relateable lyrics bound to be a hit at live shows. Again, the flippancy in “I guess this is goodbye, I’ll see you sometime” is hard to avoid and be pulled in by; these are kids not afraid to vocalise their anger head-on and unforgivingly. The second half of the record commences with Clutching Straws, the frankest off the release, making it as my personal favourite. The desperate attitude that leaks into Charlie’s voice needs no explanation; linking back to the general theme of the record, it speaks of the position many adolescents find themselves in, with faltering determination driving them into a future. “They say that patience is a virtue, does that make me a sinner?”, is another line loaded with the practical honesty that pop-punk bands tend to avoid, having a tendency to blame fault on other things (typically their hometown) as opposed to themselves.
Penultimate track, Second Best and No Regret, touches on harsher vocals and a sound only describable as equally Mayday Parade and Bring Me The Horizon. Closing lines, “if I had to choose between this and you, you’d lose, every time”, are delivered as brutally as you’d expect; there’s an undeniable appeal in this that makes the song not tinged with bitterness, but a respect for the vocalist’s honesty. Title track, Coming Of Age, closes the record, albeit beginning with a guitar that sounds rather Busted-esque. This track makes it as the best to be eligible for gang-vocals at a gig, with anthemic lyrics to close the record.
Despite complying to the majority of pop-punk conventions, this release keeps its freshness with the down-to-earth and frank lyrics which dominate the album.