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Artist: Home

Album: Sexteen

Label: Brah

Review date: Apr. 23, 2006

When you’re seven albums into a career as Home is (and that’s not counting all the cassettes that led up to their official 1995 debut IX), it’s important to pause for a moment and remember from whence you came. Or, to put it bluntly – since that’s their M.O. on Sexteen – when your daddies came inside your mommies for the express purpose of creating you. This is a record about fucking; 19 songs of grind and release, an hour’s worth of music on the long and short of the body politic.

The four songwriters who comprise Home have, as usual, brought their own individual material to Sexteen, attributed to whoever does lead vocals. Given that they’ve been working in this context since the early ’90s (out of a Florida scene where their compatriots were Sub Pop drugreligious psych trio Rein Sanction; pre-Neutral Milk Hotel outfit Chocolate U.S.A.; and ironically, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids), the material on Sexteen plays like that of a band which understands, loves, and respects the decisions that make it to the record.

Eric Morrison’s songs, like the opener “Other Times Solar” and the Rundgren-esque “Driving,” are largely keyboard-based and have a very distinct simplicity about them that in any other instance might be attributed to children’s music.

Bassist Brad Truax, who’s played with Dan Melchior’s Broke Revue, Holly Golightly and Jah Division, lays down his contributions with thick, swirling country-psych confidence and the kind of stately swagger (“Push,” “Cry”) you’d expect from a Crazy Horse record.

Guitarist Andrew Deutsch, a musician and filmmaker of constantly overturning projects (and an actor, starring in a recent Rogers Sisters video, and infamously as a dead teen in the final episode of “Miami Vice”), builds off of those rock chops, and imbues it with a dreamy pop sensibility (“Raging Angel,” “Deep Inside”).

Drummer Sean Martin, returning to the band after a long absence (and splitting time with mainstay Chris Millstein), shows his Southern roots with twangy, junk-inna-trunk booty pop (like on “Bubble,” featuring the funniest break of 2006, involving Deutsch and a phone sex operator), that move with the creaky rhythms of a back porch swing.

Pile all four together, with a topic such as the one that glues this album together, and you end up with something approaching the obscene post-mersh mess of Ween, but with a winsomeness that moves away from fart and weed jokes and comes off as sincere and genuine. Which is a pretty important quality to have if you wanna pull off lyrics like “Come in, sit down, wrap your legs around / I can smell your scent from the other side of town.” On Sexteen, those words, like the songs that surround them, sound innocent and playful.

The rest of the record follows suit, making Home’s preternatural disjointedness work in its favor. The band is essentially a long-running, pressure-free pop project, on the side of a bunch of guys’ lives. That they’ve come close to perfecting their loose yet connected composition and playing styles, to the point where the guys seem to be finishing each other’s sentences and improving upon each other’s ideas, is somewhat astounding. There’s not really a moment that will have you skipping forward, and Sexteen’s hour goes by in a blink, and thereby demands your attention for the full shot. Whoever said “all you need is love” was probably right, and it’s that sentiment that carries Home back into the spotlight, even if it’s just somebody holding a flashlight above them. And that’s really a testament to what Home does best – make a set of home recordings by friends sound massive and singular in scope.

By Doug Mosurock

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