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Music Review: The Basement – Illicit Hugs And Playground Thugs

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Making their way to the US after gaining much praise in the UK, The Basement has released Illicit Hugs And Playground Thugs. Originally from Ireland, the blues and indie-rock band took a little over two years to release their debut album. With their popularity growing, they were picked up by Zealous Records to have their CD released in the US.

If you are the type of music lover who likes their music a little classic but with a twist of blues, then The Basement will be right up your alley. A lot of the songs remind me of something a younger Bob Dylan might have done, but two songs later I am thinking of current bands like Bright Eyes and even The Black Keys. The music is alive with bits of country, indie, and even some elements of an Irish jingle.

“Do You Think You’re Moving On?” starts things off in a country like style. The song really is a blissful opening to the twelve track CD. The second track “Summertimes” reminds me of an Irish jam done by the Pogues, but a little more sober. The track is fun and definitely an easy sing-along.

“A Roadtrip” starts out with a banjo riff reminding me of a Travis song, but I think it sounds better. The singing along with the alt-country music is such, that it is worthy of listening to live in a smoky hole-in-the-wall bar. This is definitely music that the cool indie kids could hang out to. “It’s A Kinda Love” was another track I was fond of, with a slower motive than that of the other tracks.

Usually I like my music a little louder and a little faster, but to be honest The Basement is OK by me. I really enjoyed every track on the album. I like the foursome more because it is not the type of music I hear all the time — but when I do, I appreciate it.

They are the type of band that would grab my attention if I heard them in the background while out with friends:

I would say “Hey, who are these guys?” And my overly music knowledgable friends would sigh and say, “Man, it’s The Basement, where have you been?”

“Apparently in a hole,” I would reply, “But I am glad I was exposed to them, as they are a band definitely worth checking out.”

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About Brian McConville