The pop punk genre gets slapped onto so much music these days. It seems to be the middle grounds for music that is either just that little too heavy for mainstream radio but also too soft for the punk representation. North Carolina’s own Never Home sit on the very cusp of punk pop with a style that’s a little heavy but vocals that just don’t seem angsty enough for the punk side.

The opening track Dulin Road is a strong way to kick off the album but only after 55 seconds of the longest, most pointless intro possible. Each time you think that intro is going to bring in the band, it continues on for another 4 bars. I understand hyping up the people but leave that for the shows as people want to jump straight to the music. As soon as the intro is through, though, we are finally treated to Nick Klock’s vocals and the stylings of guitarists Dan Drysdale and Devon Stone, bassist Ian Wade and drummer Rob Hendley. While Drysdale, Stone, Wade and Hendley have the punk sound down pat, Klock’s vocals just don’t tend to have the same emotion that’s being emitted from the band.

This sadly tends to happen throughout all five tracks in the EP and with Klock very rarely changing up any stylings between tracks, it was very hard to tell if a track was on repeat or if it was the next track of the EP. Don’t get me wrong, Klock has talent with what he does but it would be great to hear a different note progression or tone change in his expressions. It’s a bit too much of the cliché pop punk sound and very little emotional input. Take for example Yellowcard. Very similar style in vocals but vocalist Ryan Key put raw emotion behind each note and pushed to make each song unique. Klock sadly didn’t achieve that with this EP but this is exactly what EP’s are for.

On the other side of things, the instrumental work was superb. Constant riff change ups from Drysdale and Stone brought each song that punk uncertainty and rapid fire succession. It gave this structured yet lose feel to the music and makes you feel comfortable and wanting more. This is easily accompanied by the ever changing bass line from Wade and the smooth drumming of Hendley. It’s very hard to fault the band for the instrumental work (other than that intro). The instrumentals shine brightest in the final track Consider It Done and make it possibly the best track on the album.

It’s easy to see that this is a first EP and it’s different seeing a band use the infamous self titled approach to an EP and not an album release. They do have song names down pat, however, that will appeal to the pop punk community.

Never Home definitely has a long way to go with it all but if they can build on what they have that’s solid and use that as foundation’s, it won’t be long until they get named the next big thing in pop punk. Until then though, I’ll enjoy listening to this EP still.