Even though I had never heard of Versus The World before their latest album dropped into my inbox, the title Homesick/Roadsick told me it was likely to be a punk rock record. As it turns out, my hunch was correct.
Every punk rock fan will be familiar with the whole homesick vs road sick paradigm. It’s a topic that has already been well covered – or some may say overdone. If you’re in the mood where you want to listen to an angsty vocalist singing about how much they hate their washed up hometown but really miss the family and friends and left behind, Homesick/Roadsick is a prime candidate.
The first three tracks of this 11-song LP are stand out, and a really promising start to the album. I love the riff-heavy triple guitar intro to ‘Black Ocean’ – Versus The World’s third record definitely benefits from its three guitarists Donald Spence, Chris Flippin and Tony Caraffa working together like a well-oiled machine.
‘A Storm Like Me’ is a great angst-heavy song about the belief that your loved one deserves better than you. It’s definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album, lyrically speaking.
‘Seven. Thirty One’ is upbeat with multiple changes of pace throughout, and it’s during this song that the punk element of Versus The World becomes obvious. And if you want a track to invoke nostalgia about days gone by with your friends, ‘A Brooklyn Rooftop’ is the song for you. Vocalist/guitarist Donald’s repeated wails of “damn I miss my friends” are unapologetically punk rock.
Speaking of vocals, Donald’s voice is a little wobbly sounding in places, which leads me to question how well he would fare during live performances. With plenty of UK/EU tour dates on the cards for Versus The World throughout June and July with Strung Out, I’m sure his ability will be thoroughly tested. However, the vocals don’t impact on Homesick/Roadsick massively, and on the flipside they don’t fall into the trap of being overproduced. This gives his lyrics a raw, realistic feel.
I really enjoyed the guitar solo in the album’s title track – I was surprised to stumble across a solo, as in my experience they can be scarce on punk rock records, but I’m certainly not complaining.
I’m also not complaining about the more melancholy sound of ‘Bullet Train’. Versus The World have put together a record with a good mix of positive and negative songs. This saved me from being bombarded by depressingly emo or sickly sweet upbeat lyrics for the entirety of the 11-track album, which clocks in at just over 35 minutes.
Overall, this album is pretty good, but it’s nothing special. If you need more punk rock in your life then Homesick/Roadsick is the record for you, but if you’re looking for something a bit more experimental or unique, then maybe give it a miss, as you may find yourself getting bored.
– Katie Boyden