Chicago’s Homesafe aren’t stepping too outside their comfort zone on their latest release Nervous Reaction, but when they sound this good, you can hardly blame them for not leaving the homestead.

Nervous Reaction is the follow-up to 2019’s One, a solid record in its own right, full of pop-punk tension and huge, Alternative Nation-allegiance-pledging hooks. You might not think that such a perfect union of ’90s mall rock and early ’00s angst could be improved upon, but then again, there is nothing wrong with a sharp-cheddar grilled cheese on its own, either.  But you add ham to that nosh, and suddenly, you’ve got something new to savor, and you’re in a whole different spectrum of flavor.

Nervous Disorder is the croque monsieur to One‘s standard cheese melt. Same concept, but offering you a little more with each bite than the original.

Time seems to be a major factor in the strengthening and refining of Homesafe’s sound headed into Nervous Reaction. The previous album dealt thematically with band leaning into adulthood and the apprehension of that process permeated the music.

Homestead are a band whose lyrical content is usually tightly mirrored by the tone and temperament of their performance. This is still true about their latest album, which sees them far more comfortable in the grain and groove of introspection, a fact that is reflected in the direct and optimistic, skyward facing flyer “Come Clean” and the pensive icebreaking “Locked Up & Away,” which feels like it is attempting to spin-dry all the social inhibition and self-imposed reclusion out of you one hook at a time.

There is nothing that should honestly keep cuts from Nervous Disorder off a playlist inspired by early Foo Fighters or Eve 6, especially when basking in the car-stereo busting banger of “With You” and its crowd-pleasing grooves and shout-along chorus. Homesafe aren’t simply rolling out the tricks which delivered hits for their forefathers though, and the band’s inwardly ruminative orientation can’t help but produce something that is reflective of their own identity.

The title and first track are proof positive of this truth, as the pairing of its hooks and melodies resemble Thrice caught in the whirlwind and backdraft of Everclear’s sunny sense of clarity, a battle of wills between a world-weary agony and a rising enamored relish for the mere joy of existence that can’t help of lead the band to scaling the nearest flagpole and shouting out their reverie in an act of bracingly deranged and wholesome self-assertion. If only all of our acts of self-affirmation could be so catchy and satisfying to rock out to.

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Always writing... Always. Read my errant thoughts over at I Thought I Heard a Sound (https://thasound.blogspot.com/) or follow me on Twitter @thasoundblog

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