Built on an alternative/indie sound with a little ’80s pop thrown into the mix, Ledges‘ debut record, “Homecoming” comes out on Friday, September 1. It’s a story full of lovestruck teens and angst, following a character through “doubt, love, loss, and redemption.” At times gritty and others smooth, the album is broad and soaring, moving with gorgeous melodies and grinding synth.
Each song begins slower than expected, moving at a leisurely, unbothered pace. Tension builds throughout nearly every track in a predictable structure, culminating in a burst of sound near the end. Nonetheless, the build feels natural. Everything is poppy synth and grinding guitar with write-this-on-the-cover-of-your-notebook lyrics that embody classic high school angst – hence the album’s title. Also similarly to high school, the album begins sounding hopeful and ends bitter and sad.
“Homecoming” is saturated with ’80s-style synth and throaty vocals, oddly fitting with the vignette of a school dance. “Nights” is buzzy and glittery, like vibrant turquoise sequins, whereas “The Ocean” seems like a classic slow-dance track. Things get a little subdued with “Snow”, with its pretty piano background and lyrics like, “I’m tired of this feeling/I’m grabbing at the air right in front of me.”
One of my favorites, “New York”, comes near the end, and it feels like pulling an all-nighter. It’s heavy eyelids and heavy hearts, becoming cathartic in the middle and only slowing for a disoriented breath before intensifying one last time. It’s closely followed by “Virginia” both in chronology and preference, a slightly heavier love song that feels like tearing yourself apart. Sound dramatic? That’s high school.
Originally intended to be an EP, “Homecoming” was later extended into a full-length because the band needed more time to tell their honest story. It’s constructed with a genuine blend of alternative and ’80s pop, instead of a duplicate of bands from the decade like other popular artists – not that I dislike Bleachers, but Jack Antonoff’s influences are blatant – and although songs can tend to blur together, it’s certainly a unique sound.
Keep an eye on Akron, Ohio alternative rock band Ledges for the release of “Homecoming” this Friday!