REVIEW: Well Kept Things – ‘Homegrown’

well kept things

Artist: Well Kept Things
Album: Homegrown
Label: Antique Records
Genre: Pop Punk, Indie

Few will deny that the onset of the digital age has drastically altered the musical landscape. Listeners are now more connected than ever, and the internet has become a revolving door of undiscovered talent, offering around the clock exposure to artists that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Likewise, authenticity has become a vital currency, especially within the pop punk community. Bands who bear said label walk a razor-thin line between what is expected and what is desired, and those who fail to find a happy medium are quickly cast aside. In a genre that thrives almost wholly on familiarity, an excess of repetition can be a death sentence; it’s a harsh reality that forces many up-and-comers to check their aspirations at the door.

Despite such overwhelming odds, Buffalo, New York’s Well Kept Things need not worry. On their debut EP Homegrown, which drops today via Antique Records, the five-piece display a level of musicianship far beyond their years, resulting in a refreshing effort that doesn’t lose its charm upon return visits.

The record opens to the chatter of bandmates Cullen Dedrick, Charlie Rumfola, Christian Adams, Devin Jeffery, and Kody Fintak; they’re discussing pizza, which somehow seems appropriate. Their banter is brief, quickly giving way to the swelling instrumentals of “Traffic Jam,” an empowering opener that is hard to get a hold of, but not in a bad way. A cascading chorus line sets the mood, but it is the unexpected shifts in tempo and perfectly placed backing vocals that will inevitably leave listeners coming back for more. “Younger” follows, and while it doesn’t possess quite the same staying power as its predecessor, it’s still a lot of fun. Dedrick’s pipes are on full display, and his lyrics are heavy with sun-drenched nostalgia.

WKT hit their stride with “Coasting,” a fast-paced anthem with a wonderfully out-of-the-box bridge. Swift and accessible, it would likely go down as Homegrown‘s most energetic offering if not for being followed by the undeniable lead single, “Great White North,” which boasts what I believe to be one of the most infectious refrains of 2015. Honest, introspective, and maybe even a little bitter, it has all the makings of a breakout hit.

“New Jersey” caps things off with some punchy guitar work and a set of dance-inducing group vocals. Truth be told, I can usually do without such sing-alongs, but this particular nod to the mainstream doesn’t feel forced, and makes for a powerful closing.

At first glance, Homegrown might pass as a run-of-the-mill release, but if you let yourself get lost in the tiny nuances, I can promise that there is more at work here than power chords and angsty cliché. Well Kept Things have set themselves apart from their peers via smart composition and top-notch songwriting, and in doing so, have left little doubt as to their vast potential.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence

Kyle Florence is a proud Wisconsinite, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a lover of all things weird and whacky.
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