Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Basement - Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs

The Basement generated a lot of hype among the UK press before they released their first album. Early singles hinted at something special and they generated quite a following among fans. For some reason the buzz has been a little slower to build in the US, but they have released their first US CD on Zealous Records, Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs. A recent article in No Depression should help also. The album is an instant classic mixing Americana influenced Roots Rock with British influenced Pop. The songs by the Irish born Liverpool based quartet are infectious. The album bridges a gap between their British and Irish upbringing and Americana Twang. It is evocative of the way Gram Parsons tried to fuse rock and country in his day. In fact you could alter Gram’s description of his own music slightly and call it “Cosmic British-American Music.”

The album starts out with the Alt-Country of “Do You Think Your Moving On.” Other songs like “Summertimes” have more of a Pop style. The Basement is influenced by Old 97s as can be heard on 2 tracks in particular, “When Tomorrow Comes” sounds like Satellite Rides Pop, while “Just a Dream” is redolent of earlier Old 97s. One of the band’s key attributes is the ability to sound upbeat even when using melancholy lyrics.

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