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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bless

Rodeo Boys- Home Movies (Album Review)

Sometimes, an album cover lets you know exactly what you're getting into. At first glance, the randomness of items on the cover for Lansing-based garage punk band, Rodeo Boys’ latest album Home Movies looks like an assorted mess of things that have no meaning. From the pheasant lighter, and the Dale Earnhardt mug to the messy ashtray and the old photographs, you could look at this album cover at a record store and pass by it, saying to yourself ‘Huh, that’s an odd assortment of items.’ You could potentially just breeze right past this cover in the record store to get to an album that you were looking for, but, if you started listening to Home Movies, those items sprawled out on that wooden table would start to make sense. Nostalgia is a trope that bands seem to get sucked into pretty easily. Rodeo Boys deliver a nostalgic, gritty 90’s grunge sound, but they make it their own with their energy and their hint of twang, probably a component that they added to their sound due to their small-town roots. The combination of both of these sounds coming together makes the sound feel so much deeper than just a country-influenced punk band. What these sounds represent to this band and this album is a realization and an acceptance of one’s roots and past, and bringing that past to who this band is now, which for many people can be a challenge, given their relationship with their prior selves.

Rodeo Boys exuberate so much energy throughout Home Movies, that sometimes it feels hard to know what you as a listener can do with that energy. Tip for the listener: just sit back and pretend you're in the formative years of your life driving down gravel roads as you try and figure out what you want from life. Let the great guitar work on songs like ‘Feel The Same’ and ‘Dog Leg’ take you away as you imagine yourself drinking a tall boy in a random cornfield while sitting and watching the sun go down on a blazing summer night. Feel the power of lead singer, Tiff Hanney’s incredible voice as it goes from singing to yelling throughout the record. All of these elements lead to something that sounds familiar, yet these elements and experiences that the band has collected throughout their lives come together in a new and refreshing way. This record is a prime example of how you can take your influences and build upon them to create something that could only come from a band who knows what sound they want to accomplish while adding something unique to the genre itself.

Home Movies, as stated prior, is a look at one’s past to accept who one is in the current moment. It’s a nostalgic look at where the band has been but also acts as a catapult for where Rodeo Boys can go as a group because the ‘small town’ punk sound that they have created for themselves is anything but small. This record is a must-listen for anyone who grew up in a small town and felt a little out of place like they didn’t belong. It’s an album I didn’t expect to feel such an emotional draw to, but I am glad that Home Movies grabbed my ears and heart in the process. Home Movies immediately transported me back to my small rural bedroom, telling my past self that everything is going to be alright and that the world is much bigger than what I am experiencing right now. That is quite a profound thing to get out of an album if you ask me.

Favorite tracks: Feel The Same, Dog Leg, Tidal Wave

Rating: 8.5/10

Home Movies is available for purchase on CD, Vinyl, or MP3. You can purchase the record here.

Listen to ‘Feel The Same’ off of Rodeo Boys’ latest album, Home Movies, below:

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