Review: House & Home Breathes New Life Into Pop-Punk on “Empty Handed”
A few weeks back (April 30th, to be exact), Richmond, Virginia’s House & Home released their newest single, titled “Empty Handed.” The song is the band’s first since dropping their debut full-length, “Find Sense. Feel Love. Make Light.” in April 2020.
On release day, the band said on Instagram, “This song is the result of a year of listening and learning. There’s a lot of evil in the world that many people, us included, have the privilege of ignoring if they choose to. Don’t. Keep educating yourself, and keep amplifying the voices that need it. Take care of each other.”
Admittedly, I’ve been late to just about everything that House & Home has done. I’m writing this review just under three weeks after the song in question has been released, and I still haven’t checked out their record from last year.
However, if I wasn’t already going to give this band a try at some point (shoutout to all my friends and everyone on Twitter who has recommended them), this song would have sold me on this band, because they really are incredible. “Empty Handed” is all I’ve listened to in the past 24 hours and has been in my daily rotation since it came out.
I’ll be the first one to say that, despite how fun it is, pop-punk can get repetitive; at some point, all of the bands kind of start to sound the same. If the bands do change and evolve their sound, then they’re “not pop-punk enough anymore” and are met with criticism from their fans...this subgenre can be vicious.
What I really love about this single, and what I think I’ll come to love about House & Home, is that they bring something new and exciting to this style of music. Similar to bands like The Story So Far and Can’t Swim, I’d classify this track as “heavy pop-punk”, somewhere in between classic Knuckle Puck/Real Friends/State Champs/Neck Deep and like, entry-level hardcore. Is there a word for that? Pop-punk-core?
Sonically, this song has all of the elements of the pop-punk sound we all know and love, but there’s an emphasis on the “punk” part. Arguably the most impressive portion of the song comes at the three-minute mark, where frontman Pat Williams’ vocal delivery turns from silky-smooth to sharp and biting. The transition from traditional melodic singing to screams is flawless and caught me off guard in all of the best ways the first time I heard it.
Lyrically, this song is super insightful, taking a look at the concepts of fear and coping, in addition to the inspirations mentioned in their Instagram post. Especially in today’s social climate, I feel that it’s important to know where your favorite bands stand and who they are as people, and House & Home has made that crystal clear, in both their music and social media presence.
If you haven’t already checked out House & Home (I don’t blame you, I was late to the party as well), their entire discography including “Empty Handed” is available for streaming on all platforms. If you like what you hear, be sure to support the band by picking up some merch via Open Your Ears Records’ online store. You can keep up with the band by following them on Instagram @HouseAndHomeVA, Twitter @HouseAndHomeRVA, and Facebook @HouseAndHomeBand.
If you have listened to this band, feel free to shame me for how long I spent sleeping on them by tweeting me @JENSESSlON! Be the first to know about future reviews by following the blog on Twitter @StrawbSkiesBlog, Instagram @StrawberrySkiesBlog, and Facebook @StrawberrySkiesBlog.