Andrew Leahey and The Homestead Show Rock and Pop Versatility on ‘American Static, Vol. 2.’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen

A lot of words can be used to describe Andrew Leahey and The Homestead. One of those words is prolific. The band has released three albums since 2016. In that time, the band has shown that it is capable of fist-pumping rock and roll as well as psychedelic songs with harmonies that recall The Beatles.

Last year, the band released American Static, Vol. 1, which is an excellent example of the yin and yang of this band with both uptempo rockers and spacey songs that are equal parts The Beatles and The Byrds. That was the first part of a double album (yes, a double album on the heels of a global pandemic when the world slowed down). On American Static, Vol. 2. the band continues to show not only its duality, but also its versatility in both rock and pop sounds.

One thing that stands out on this album is Leahey’s ability to switch between uptempo rock and roll and spacey psychedelic sounds. He doesn’t just do it from one song to another. He does it within individual songs. “Sign of the Times” is a good example. Parts of the song are spacey and psychedelic and reminiscent of Buffalo Killers. Other parts of the song are rock and roll driven by loud guitars and a beat that will get your fist pumping.

Another strength on this album is Leahey’s ability to set you up and deliver unexpected lyrics. An example is at the beginning of “Dial Tone”, where he sings, “I miss her like a dial tone. I miss her like TV static.” It kind of makes you wonder just how the subject of the song is missed, but as the song progresses, you realize that is a longing for someone who is familiar but bygone. 

“Hanging Heavy” is another display of the versatility of this band. For one, this is built around the piano, although the guitar is featured in the instrumental break. Also, this song is a little more pop in both sound and structure, and it lacks the psychedelic aspect of a lot of the songs. After getting a healthy dose of the rock that precedes this song, it’s interesting to see that the band can do just as well with a pretty pop song.

Leahey shows his ability as a wordsmith in “Stay Awake”. The guitar in this one has something of a grungy sound. In describing the 9 to 5 life, he sings (seemingly on behalf of everyone who has ever worked a 9 to 5), “Feels like I’m paying to play for the right to exist.” After singing about someone who’s on track to be a CFO and the alma mater soliciting donations, he sings the memorable line,“I’ll sleep when I’m dead broke, but first I’m getting paid, and if you want to live the American dream, you gotta stay awake.”American Static, Vol. 2 is an album of pleasant surprises. It keeps you guessing about what you’ll hear next, but no matter what comes next, you can rest assured it’s good. It’s just as good for rocking out on a long drive as it is for greeting the day with your first cup of coffee.

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