Pop-punk isn’t a zero-sum game; bands can get noticed even if what they’re doing isn’t earth-shatteringly original. Just look at Neck Deep, whose sound essentially boils down to one part New Found Glory, one part The Story So Far, and yet have become the most successful example of the genre the UK has ever produced. But there’s a difference between taking creative liberties and just having no ideas of your own, and it feels as though a lot of the time, most UK pop-punk bands are unaware of this.

 Which brings us to Homebound, another forgettably-named pop-punk band with another EP that falls in line with the way the genre is going, and goes right in one ear and out the other. Seriously, if you’ve even given a passing glance towards pop-punk in the past twelve months, you’ll have The Mould You Build Yourself Around sussed. And if that’s what you’re into, there’s definitely enjoyment to be found here – Pensive and especially Distrait hit the kind of giddy heights that a young band should be aiming for right off the bat, and the rougher, dirtier sound with Charlie Boughton’s gritty vocals inject an extra dimension of pathos for a more mature sound that’s definitely welcome.

 But while that might be the case, it’s borderline impossible to deny that there’s not a single new or innovative sound in Homebound’s locker, and while that’s not necessarily a problem, there’s nothing here that stands tall enough to justify that. Compare this to something like The Menzingers’ After The Party – that, too, took a very well-worn sound for its template, but it compensated by overflowing with a heart and passion that’s impossible to fake or imitate. Here, Homebound sound like a stitched-together combination of ROAM and Boston Manor that doesn’t even try to hide the seams. There’s the gritty, harder edges that could easily be taken from the former, especially when the drums pick up to double time on Broken Reverie, while Boughton’s slightly looser, more intense vocal style and the shades of emo that are smattered throughout bring up unavoidable comparisons to the latter.

 For anyone who’s a fan of both of those acts, The Mould You Build Yourself Around will be right up your alley, but is it really too much to ask to be able to tell what band you’re listening to? There certainly isn’t a lack of effort put in here, and Homebound clearly have passion and verve for what they do, but it wouldn’t hurt to repurpose some of their talents into other areas, if only to really ensure they stand out. Because right now, this EP really doesn’t do that, and continuing in this vein predicts that Homebound will be lost in the shuffle before long.

5/10

For fans of: ROAM, Trash Boat, Boston Manor
Words by Luke Nuttall 

‘The Mould You Build Yourself Around’ by Homebound is released on 10th February on Rude Records.

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