Invisible Homes | Song For My Double
album review by John Powell
For the quirky simplicity that makes the likes of Modest Mouse and The Vinyl Skyway irresistible, turn now to Invisible Homes, the brainchild of Sean Witters, Patrick Ormiston, Pat Melvin, Matt DeLuca, and Will Andrews, and featuring a slue of musicians Sean knows personally (from Japhy Ryder, Barika, Chris Dorman, Kat Wright and The Indomitable Soul Band, to name a few). Sean and the others, being the professional musicians they are, can play any genre, and with his band coming from diverse backgrounds, Song For My Double is peppered with jazz, blues, and some other sounds that wouldn’t fit together nicely if Invisible Homes didn’t exist to make it happen.
The issue may be that Song For My Double actually starts with its best song, “Little Song”, which it’s anything but. Dancing electric guitar and garage-rugged drums ala Dinosaur Jr. in the background, Sean offers, “All the stories/ and what it all meant/ It’s in the water that I still taste.” The “Bop-bop” backing vocals tie it all up nicely. The song slowly builds with the help of lead guitar filling in any space. Topped off with a gratifying guitar solo, and Invisible Homes, very suddenly, might become your favorite band.
Of course, the following “Above The Frequency” is also capable, going darker and dripping with naughty synth. The bridge is sexy, Sean arguing, “This mumbo jumbo scene,” fleeing it with another great guitar solo. He has a distinctive voice, which like Dinosaur Jr. or Blind Melon, wouldn’t work with any other genre, but fits nicely here.
The album shifts two thirds of the way through. “The Clown” is less rock and more oddball, the sort of contemporary must-have for the indie rockers. It can’t really figure out what it’s supposed to do, and maybe on purpose. The theme of the song is literal: a story of a frightening clown- and the instrumentation reflects this juxtaposition.
The shift broadens with “One On The Skyline”, which is very instrumentally driven and more like a jazz odyssey. These aren’t my favorite songs on the album. They sound like Phish picking up in the middle of a 40-minute jam, without the tight songwriting that comes before. Still, I’ll credit Invisible Homes for being able to develop such songs without losing that Invisible Homes vibe.
“No One” closes the album and is even sparser than “One On The Skyline”. Atmospheric clamor leaves behind the tasty indie rock of the first few songs. While these songs aren’t poorly constructed, this album calls for more of the up-tempo stuff, especially because the guitar work is so spot-on.
Bottom line: Quirky, grungy rock with interesting lyrics and overall enjoyable song compositions.