All This Huxley’s latest album was a moderately inventive debut, and though their new extended play Home Stockholm is a far-less ambitious piece stylistically, it isn’t completely lacking in creative intrigue. “Stockholm,” the cold introduction to the record, kicks into gear with a grating tempo that gets a lot more colorful as we get deeper into the track, and though the vocal is a little too loud in the mix for my taste, it doesn’t interrupt the execution of the vicious string arrangement at all. “Ring Buoy” is a slightly different story; its retrospective tone sours its minor key dirge with a familiar lyricism that doesn’t do much to intensify the passion in the play, and while it’s got enough of a muscular bite to compensate for its relative compositional complacency, it’s definitely not the most gripping song that Home Stockholm has to offer. That prize goes to the fun and fresh “One of These Things,” which despite utilizing a hook similar to a Foo Fighters hit from nearly a decade ago, is the powerhouse alternative rocker that makes this record accessible to the masses.
“Comrade II” is a really focused folk-rock number that oozes with emotion inside of its artfully arranged vocal, and it warms the chill left in the air from “Stockholm” perfectly. The mix goes all over the place in “Dunkirk,” Home Stockholm’s most experimental song, but the content of the material itself redeems the instability of the equalization. In reality, even the weaker tracks on this EP have the right bones to be starring songs in a live performance; it’s just rather unfortunate that they weren’t packaged with a streamlined approach to the soundboard – something that, to be fair, a lot of their contemporaries have been avoiding as well. Home Stockholm is best described as an untamed beast that has a lot of beauty begging to be unlocked beneath the thick varnish of its surface cosmetics. All This Huxley’s have a ton of ambition as a group, and with a little more attention given to the understated nuances in their songwriting, I think that they could become a well-respected touring act in due time.
With the right setting and production team to aid in the process, I have a feeling that the next full-length album that we hear from this crew is going to be everything that we had hoped to hear in a sophomore offering, and I look forward to reviewing whatever melodic mysticism it might contain.