Dodgy – Homegrown - 4.5/5
It probably should not be surprising that this album of catchy power-pop-punk is relatively overlooked when you consider the year it was released. By October of 1994, the music scenes of America and Britain were saturated with great music in a range of genres, and Homegrown was competing with the likes of Soundgarden’s Superunknown, The Offspring’s Smash, Nas’ Illmatic, Weezer’s Blue Album, and Jeff Buckley’s Grace, and the UK was experiencing the generation of the Britpop genre with Blur’s Parklife and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. In fact, Dodgy hails from the same Camden scene that spawned Blur, and was often an opening act for Oasis, making it simply a shame they never became more than third-tier artists with minor hits within the scene.
The music is relatively simple in and of itself, amplified guitars that switch between slight distortion and acoustic, higher leading vocals with breathy supporting choruses, and upbeat percussion. However, the music is emotionally deeper than most pop punk, supplied by Dodgy’s ability to write songs that remain catchy and happy with hints of melancholy. Let none of that distract from the album’s true power, which lies in it’s ridiculously catchy choruses most notably in songs like ‘Melodies Haunt You’, ‘So Let Me Go Far’, and “Making the Most of What We’ve Got’ and in the band’s ability to writes songs that flow well as an album without blending together into a undistinguishable mess. Dodgy experiments with elements of baroque pop in ‘Crossroads’, with distortion vocals in ‘One Day’, minimalist composure with ‘What have I Done Wrong’ and with progressive elements in the epic album closer ‘Grassman’.
Minor complaints stem from parts of the songs like when ‘So Let Me Go Far’ sometimes feels a little bloated and overwritten, and “We Are Together’s chorus comes off as wince-worthy. Also, placing the albums shortest and longest song not only right next to each other but also towards the tail end of the album throws off the balance a bit to an otherwise well-flowing album, especially considering they are the most emotive songs in the album as well. Nevertheless, as you all can no doubt tell, I am stretching to locate problems with this amazing record in an ill-fated attempt to be unbiased. Overall, this is a great record not only deserving more critical attention, but also deserving a spot in your collection.
Track Picks: Melodies Haunt You, Making the Most, and Grassman.