Homecomings craft a catchy and intricate gem with ‘Sale of Broken Dreams’

by

Special To The Japan Times

Kyoto four-piece Homecomings excel at capturing the small, sad details of life.

“I write down the melancholic moments in my daily life, like sudden depression or the mood on a cloudy day,” says guitarist Yuki Fukutomi via email from their hometown. “Then I put those feeling into an imagined city and its people.”

The band’s latest album, “Sale of Broken Dreams,” continues to find Fukutomi, along with vocalist and guitarist Ayaka Tatamino, drummer Narumi Ishida and bassist Honami Fukuda, capturing existence’s more downtrodden moments over zippy guitar-guided indie-pop.

Yet a lot has changed for a band who first gained traction almost exclusively around the Kansai region, as they’ve become a group capable of holding down a one-band tour across Japan and are slated to play at this year’s Fuji Rock Festival.

After the band formed in university in 2012, Homecomings played Kyoto’s indie-rock livehouse circuit, getting the attention of local imprint Second Royal Records, who released their first proper album in 2013. They’ve now hooked up with larger label Tokyo’s Felicity and released the well-received “Somehow, Somewhere,” near the end of 2014.

“The band went on a solo tour last year. The fact it wasn’t technically a release tour was also challenging, but it was a very important event for us,” Fukutomi says. “After our Tokyo gig in a big venue, we were back in a small Kyoto live house for the tour finale. It was like returning to our roots.”

Musically, however, Homecomings have been pretty steadfast in sticking to an up-tempo style built around swift verses and catchy hooks made all the more sticky by the group’s vocal harmonizing. “Sale of Broken Dreams” offers no major curveballs — a few moments, such as “Maybe Some Other Time” and “Another New Year” offer stripped down meditations on missed connections and loneliness, but overall they are still jogging forward.

“We used to record our parts separately, but for this album we tried out different instrumentation and thought about the choruses together,” Fukutomi says. “It’s an album that’s a result of one-year of close teamwork.”

And the lyrics, once again, zero in on life’s miniscule details, with unrequited love popping up frequently. Melancholic indie-pop is plentiful in Japan, but Homecomings’ sense of observation helps them stand out. Songs such as “Buttersand,” which Fukutomi says was inspired by an early morning drive from Tokyo to Kyoto, devote space to tiny details, like laundry piling up.

“Apart from James Iha, Death Cab For Cutie and Pavement, we also were inspired by films such as ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ and ‘St. Vincent’ this time around,” Fukutomi says.

After “Sale of Broken Dreams” comes out, Homecomings will play a few shows leading up to a late June tour. Then they return to Fuji Rock, where they played on the Rookie-A-Go-Go stage in 2013. This time, though, they play the festival proper, and will see some of their biggest audiences to date.

“We are so excited about it, it’s probably the best thing that could happen to us.”

“Sale of Broken Dreams” is in stores now. For more information on tour dates, visit www.homecomings.jp.