Review: Off With Their Heads – Home

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Band: Off With Their Heads
Album: Home
Label: Epitaph Records
Genre: Punk

Off With Their Heads is proof that punk is not dead. Home, which is slated to hit the shelves on March 12, drags many personal issues out into the open but still packs a traditional punk punch. Seasoned punk listeners will be thrilled to hear that the aggressive punk sound that was so popular in the 90s and early 2000s continues to thrive.

The album opens with a guitar screech and picks up to a chorus of “it’s a long way back to be anything that anyone could love”. With verses about a trialing past, regrets and despair, “Start Walking” is a perfect intro into an album that works through some issues such as displacement, going “against the grain” and questioning what will come next in life.

In the span of thirty minutes, Home exemplifies what punk music should strive for: dig deep, drag out the demons and push past problems through music. The album delves into different personal issues but some are more common to the general audience. Many tracks have an earnest message or confession ingrained in the verses such as “I know I’m sick and I’m not right. I’m so fucking tired of living this life. I’m aching myself, I’m sorry that I cannot get past what keeps me away from the light. I hope this explains my problem to you, because I feel like this every night” in “Nightlife”. Other tracks like “Shirts” shout out about being alone or hopeless while maintaining a fuck you undertone. Many verses appeal to the listener for answers to questions like “where do I go from here?

While Home is tough on the surface with Ryan Young’s gruff vocals, guitar solos and strong punk rock choruses, this album reveals these punk rockers are slowly growing out of the Peter Pan mindset. In “Stolen Away” Young sings of the post-tour/band life that many artists fear, “there is no future, just struggling to stay afloat, no plans for children, no plans for growing old.” The glamour of being in a band is shamelessly stripped away to reveal to listeners what these artists really face.

Off With Their Heads have pulled through with another solid LP. Home opens and ends much like a story; a climb through some troubles, slopes of revelations and steps towards a resolution. Uncertainty is the key theme and respect is the result after listening to what this album has to offer. Among the guidance, appeals and questions tied into Home, the best advice is delivered within the album’s title. Remember that sometimes, even when things look bad, retreating Home may be the only sanctuary needed.

Score: 9/10

Reviewed by: Leanne Cushing

Leanne Cushing

Leanne started writing for Under the Gun in late 2012. She is a music lover and standup comedian. If you're local to Boston, you can usually find her at some indie/punk show, or performing her comedy live at a variety of local venues.

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