CD Review: Dear Landlord

Dream Homes (No Idea)

Don't let the Bob Dylan song reference in this band's name fool you: Dear Landlord is a gruff pop-punk band that owes more to the snotty bounce of Screeching Weasel than the folky strum of Woody Guthrie. On first listen, the four-piece recalls the Midwest punk of Off With Their Heads and Banner Pilot, but after a few spins, a sense of their patient timing starts to shine through. It may sound like an oxymoron, but these guys know how to write punk songs that benefit from restraint and develop slowly. Punk's tenacity is still present, but hooks are given time to linger, the transitions are well-calculated and the choruses are never rushed or sloppy. Standouts "Park Bench" and "Landlocked" master this formula. Both feature simple yet instantly memorable lead lines, classic pop melodies and a relaxed feel despite peppy drumbeats. It might be easy to write a pop-punk tune, but it takes a tight grip on songwriting construction to craft the rugged and catchy singalongs on Dream Homes.

—­ Matt Whelihan