“The Whaler” – Home Is Where Album Review

Written by on July 15, 2023

Review By Aidan Smith

Since 2019, Florida based emo band Home Is Where have been releasing anxiety riddled tracks that echo influences from across the board; loosely reminiscent of emo staples such as Cap’n Jazz or Algernon Cadwallader while also taking influence from post-hardcore outfits, lead singer Brandon MacDonald teaters the line between panic attack and fit of rage while balancing tracks that are roaring and anthemic in nature. Not only this, MacDonald’s lyrical prowess shines on almost every track the band has released since their self released debut EP Our Mouths To Smile which released on April 5, 2019. Home Is Where also takes influence from folk artists in their music.

Most notably, Brandon Macdonald cited in an interview with music blog “The All Scene Eye” that Bob Dylan played a huge role in their early high school career and said: “To this day, I still don’t really know anything about music theory. I couldn’t tell you what a G chord was from an A chord. I mimicked Bob Dylan songs, essentially–you know, parroted it on the harmonica. I could play them pretty okay, and from there I learned rhythm and time and things like that by ear.” Preceding their 2023 “Deer In Headlights” tour with Foxing frontman Conor Murphy opening for them under his solo act Smidley, and Insignificant Other alum Shannon Taylor “AwakeButStillInBed” joining – Home Is Where released The Whaler, a ten song long record with themes of tragedy, rebirth, and acceptance.

The Whaler, quite honestly, has been shaping up to be one of this year’s most engaging, sonically diverse and cathartic listens  thus far. What in the bands words is “a concept record about getting used to things getting worse” goes far deeper than that in execution – it’s rich instrumentation never dulls throughout its thirty five minute runtime; in fact the album only becomes more varied until its end.

“Floral Organs” is the final track on the album wherein MacDonald meshes themes of death, transformation in almost Cronenberg-esque fashion, it is a folk track blooming with life – “I am the whaler, I’ve outgrown these innards!” MacDonald sways between this compared to the albums centerpiece “Everyday Feels Like 9/11,” an angsty and downright gut-wrenching track which embodies some of the albums main themes including the cyclicality of pain. It is nauseatingly downtrodden, but is emblematic of the themes that the band wants to touch on in such a clear way that it works very well.

The diversity on this project was one of the first things I noticed upon re-listening to it, each track feels like its own separate entity in an anthology dedicated to suffering, and as depressing as that is – Home Is Where lets their multitude of anxieties out in inventive and inspired ways.

It is hard to predict an albums impact, but The Whaler has stuck with me in ways that few musical projects do and I am sure that it will and has resonated with many fans of the alternative genre. Being that it is Home Is Where’s debut album, I am enthusiastic about their future and look forward to seeing what they produce. The Whaler is certifiably exceptional, everything from the themes presented to the instrumentation to lead singer Brandon MacDonald’s dynamic vocals. If you are at all interested in Alternative Rock and Folk music, “The Whaler” by Home Is Where is an absolute must.


INTERVIEW SOURCE:  https://theallsceneeye.com/2021/03/04/brandon-macdonald-of-home-is-where-on-dylan-worship-and- becoming-birds/

Image from Amazon.com