Home State: Call Me / Leave Me (2020) – Single Review

Home State is a more recent pop-rock project coming straight from New York. The three-piece group is brand new to my eyes and ears, but have already made a lasting impression, proving to me just how many strong, potentially-unknown bands there are to be found.

While many of their past tracks feature a more standard rock approach; with instrumentals full of drums, bass, and funky guitars; “Call Me / Leave Me” abandons most of this for an almost-EDM focus. The majority of the song is filled with a variety of synthesizers, with only a few echoing guitar chords, and a singular piano lick, repeated a few times. But the simplistic nature doesn’t hold them back from creating an incredibly grandiose, and effective pop anthem.

The lyricism confronts a problematic relationship; something that most, if not all of us can relate to; and the surrounding pieces accompany this perfectly. Reaching back into the Pixies’ famous handbook, the structure consistently alternates between quiet and loud. This provides two separate, but present feelings in the situation being discussed. For those somber, lonely moments, we’re left with a much softer, empty feeling, but it quickly explodes into more intense, emotional sections, full of heavy bass, driving chords, and climbing, extravagant vocals. Finally, we’re given a more optimistic point of view with several variations of the classic phrase, “when you close a door, another one opens.”

The collective effort creates an incredibly-catchy entrance into 2020’s electronic-pop catalogue; but with a more poignant touch. For me, it’s very reminiscent of other songs by similarly-melancholy bands in the genre, such as the Chainsmokers. However, in this case, it doesn’t try as hard; or is at least less heavily-produced, leaving the audience with no unnecessary layers to cut through. So, with their new track, “Call Me / Leave Me,” Home State has given us proof that you don’t need multi-million dollar budgets or infinite facets to make an epic pop title. The reflective themes, smooth synths, and dense bass make this a very fitting tune for a late night drive through the city. I can almost picture the blurring lights drifting by as I listen to it now.

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