Homesick/RoadsickKung Fu Records
By Cole Faulkner
Now on their third full length, Homesick/Roadsick, pop-punk supergroup Versus The World has demonstrated possessing legs beyond that of a one time collaboration. Composed of members of Lagwagon, The Ataris and lesser known acts like 40 Cents Short and Antifreeze, the Californian four-piece has made a name for themselves by combining these familiar brands of melodic pop-punk. The result is a predictable combination of well-executed and clean pop-punk that satisfies the soul like a warm dish of your favourite comfort food.
Opener “The Santa Margarita” sets Versus The World up in confidence. Vocalist Donald Spence belts his heart out with a high flying, rough-but-polished altrock sensibility that while very clean never lacks expression. Landing somewhere between Anberlin and Authority Zero, Spence has a knack for spouting out at least a few attention-grabbing lines per track. Take the leading invitation on “Sight For Sore Eyes.” Setting the scene for an underdog, runner-up uprising, the band dedicates the song “to all the would be stars, who are stuck in karaoke bars… to all the second guessers, and assistant managers.” Enhanced by a rich onslaught of forceful riffs and a well balanced, drum thumping bridge, they land their hopeful message well. While lyrics aren’t necessarily Versus The World’s strongest suit, when they hit the mark their imagery leaves a lasting impression.
Instrumentally, Homesick/Roadsick isn’t afraid to reach for grand heights. Take the ambitious, Strung Out meets No Use For A Name back and forth of “Seven. Thirty One” and “Bullet Train.” With a rambunctious, skate-punk tempoed intro and furious finger flying guitar solo, Versus The World prove that their talents extend well beyond just a solid mid-tempo harmony (not that stand-outs like “Retox/Detox” don’t also pull their weight). Homesick/Roadsick isn’t mind boggling by any means, but Versus The World‘s technical proficiency definitely gives them a leg up.
Homesick/Roadsick demarks a very confident and capable continuation of Versus The World in their return to Kung Fu Records. And while the band hasn’t changed all that much since their debut, Homesick/Roadsick continues to frame Versus The World as capable and confident songsmiths of the pop-punk trade with a penchant for approachably substantive tunes.