NYC-based indie quartet Go Home quietly released their debut EP, Sno-Cone a few months back on Memorial Day. If you were to put this EP on while cleaning your apartment, the indie pop sounds would make incredible background music. However, no album, and especially not this one, deserves to have its first listening be used as filler. Sno-Cone might appear to just be a great conglomeration of indie pop and rock acts from the 90s and 00s, but, if you pay attention, Go Home display their musical chops with this first release.
The composition of the album is what really sticks out, as each song displays variation in styles and sounds, and appears to fit cohesively to form a story, both lyrically and musically, that has a slight theatrical aesthetic.
“Cattle Flesh,” the leading track, offers the most typical structuring, though it uses a more minimalist design to build layers of sound. Beginning with solely drum machines parts (composed by bassist Casey Leach and guitarist Zak Houston) entering every couple measures, Leach’s bass comes thudding into the medley. The bright indie guitar riff of Houston, as well as his vocal melding with vocalist/composer Marlena Mack, gives “Cattle Flesh” a certain lightness you might find in a Postal Service album, despite all the talk of burning cattle flesh. The Mack-Houston duo is also showcased on “Lydia, or Jacob’s Ladder,” with some lyrical banter that echoes Canadian indie pop band Stars.
Though every song on the record has certain hints at musical theater, the final track, “Salome/The Librarian” is by far the most theatrical, perfectly capturing the emotions and finality that should always come at the end of a story. Mack (who is also credited with composing vocal arrangements on Sno-Cone) shows off her best writing and gives her best performance.
The band also shows the desire and great execution of blending together different styles and sounds on the album. “Living Life” starts off with heavily distorted guitar playing over whimsically dark keys. Imagine yourself traveling through Bowser’s castle, then Josh Mahaffey (keys) comes over the mic, solemnly and repetitively warning of “trouble.”
The electronic aspects of “Living Life” make it the most exciting, giving off a feeling of consistency that makes it feel like one of the more-complete tracks. An EDM-type breakdown in the second half shows the band is willing to looking outside of the typical indie pop catalog and towards the broader use of electronics.
It’s possible that the creativity and skill shown in the songwriting might have distracted a bit from other areas, mainly the moments where we see a bit more of the artists’ in the music themselves. There are a few moments where the emotions and music all build together, especially on Mack’s performance “Salome/The Librarian.” I wish that was a bit more present throughout the album. Sno-Cone is already a wonderful record, but when you see flourishes of something that gives it that extra push at certain times, you want to see it more.
Nevertheless, there’s great chemistry between the members and it translates through the album. Every member contributes to the songwriting in some way, each member sings lead at least once (Leach takes over lead vocals on “Chivalry”). It seems like each person knows exactly what is expected of them, and no one tries to do more than they need to. Sno-Cone shows a great sense of control, something you don’t always see from debuts. I’m interested to see where they go from here, and how their sound evolves.
They’re looking to play a few shows this fall, so be on the lookout!