By: Billy Bugara
As much as we would love to forget about the trials and tribulations that come with the dreaded month of February, everyone must simply come to terms with the fact that multiple indulgences into sadness and despair will unquestionably occur during the month that is supposed to be wholly defined by love. As we come to terms with another semester just beginning and the snow piling in and making just about everything more difficult, us doomers need a soundtrack to accompany our sorrowful February nights.
Well, in the spirit of the 2020 leap year, there exists an album that not only conveys a visceral sense of anguish, agony, and utter dejection, but also through a vocal style and recording method that can only be described as rough, gravelly, and croaking… almost frog-like, if you will.
This album is the recent self-titled offering from singer/songwriter Jake O’Neal under his alias homepatients. This short escapade into the mind of a man with such passion for the art of being sad is bound to be the perfect background noise for your most essential February breakdowns, and it helps given the fact that no word better describes the project’s overall presentation than “noise” as it is.
Jake’s singing and guitar work are filtered through a blatantly distorted channel that gives what would be a solemn acoustic ballad a sense of ferocity and grit, all but working to perfectly encapsulate the intended emotional sentiments of each and every track presented. These tracks would lack that emotional vigor without this production choice being translated in the manner that it is, and it proves that even the most simple of music styles can be consistently drawn upon and deconstructed with the right amount of talent and intuition.
Both of those facets of Jake’s work also shine through in his vocal delivery as a whole — a delivery that sees him wailing and crooning his equally powerful lyrics at an extremely high volume. This manner makes him come off as some sort of madman in a way; he pulls absolutely zero punches in his chilling shrieks and howls.
Each and every track details some extension of a depressing sentiment in his life, with many alluding to loneliness and a distinct lack of comfort and love. Combined with the aforementioned duo of sonic aspects, these lyrical themes fit perfectly within the vividly bleak world that Jake takes us through with pure brevity.
If February makes you want to cry, scream, or anything in between, you can rest easy knowing that this album is right there with you. It is a picture-perfect idealization of all things February from the eyes of a realist, or, at least the eyes of those who know the true sadness that it brings nearly every year.