Growing up in Michigan and having a father who was a sportsman meant I knew for a fact that North was the direction one needs to go in to get home. However, the west may be the direction I’ll travel in now. The band West Means Home is releasing their album Hope This Reaches You through Innerstrength Records, and this is one of the best pop-punk releases of the year.

West Means Home has a sound that will be familiar to fans of pop punk in the early 2010s; the hunger of the album is punctuated with its urgency and Taking Back Sunday-inspired double vocals. The album begins with the track “Spite.” A heavy-handed song that’s got a melody dripping with nostalgia, this track sounds like it could have been featured on the Warped Tour ‘03 sampler CD.

The lyrical content would have been prime fodder for AIM away messages. The track, “July” takes on a semi-emo sound, with lamenting, echoing vocals and screeching guitars. This track feels weighty and hopeless, like floating in an empty lake; you can’t see the bottom of this lake, and this track is the same way.

This album takes elements we’ve heard before and brings them back to life. The argument that this album is derivative can easily be made, but the bigger picture is how they expertly brought back 2000s pop-punk and emo back into the mainstream. This album feels effortless; its powerful writing and its natural approach are reflected in the production. All in all, West Means Home took me to a place I don’t often visit, and I haven’t felt this at home in years.

Purchase this album here.

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