Basement Benders


Written by: MIN on 21/01/2016 15:32:46

As time goes by and several more bands arrive on the American punk rock scene, the harder it gets to tell the difference between them. But still, there are a few that manage to get your attention and make you stay a while and listen. One of these is Basement Benders from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Like several others within the scene, they play melodic punk rock with a mix of gruff and clean vocals shared between bassist Terry and guitarist Ashley – very much in the vein of RVIVR. But although lines can easily be drawn from Basement Benders to other bands, it’s their ability to tell a good and personal story with a lyrical narrative and a great melody to support it that makes them stand out and sets them apart from many other contemporaries.

Taking the third song “First Heat” as an example, it’s easily the great hooks and relatable lyrics that make the band so likeable: Singing about how to make a girl swoon is a classic topic, and insecurity is rarely frowned upon within the genre, but the way the narrator combines the two subjects in a moment of self-realization during the chorus is admirable and Terry’s vocals feel longing and genuine: ”I am no Casanova, but I will win you over”. This is not the only place where you feel like you’re being thrown right into a story between the two vocalists, as “Wedding Song” deals with the issue of driving east to Tallahassee with an elephant in the room. The music in the song is very laid back, and the electric country-inspired guitar playing above a stomp-and-stop bassline and some playful drumming makes it feel like something off a Neil Young record released in the 90s anno “Ragged Glory”.

The album trots several different tempos throughout so it never really feels like you’re listening to the same chords for too long. The song “Betsy” makes the listener take a breather just before the last rocker on the album, “Trick of the Light”, which just like the aforementioned “Wedding Song” also gives you time to stop and taste the flavors of the album. The fourth song, “Modern Medicine”, has the most memorable and poppy chorus, and it will probably be the one to gather most recognition during live shows with its chorus: ”When did medicine become big business // Whatever happened to a moment of silence?” It deals with capitalism and its ugly fist clenching the copyrights of medicine – a topic being very relevant around the album’s release, as Martin Shkreli had just increased the price of HIV medicine to an unfathomable amount (not to mention the constant criticism of cancer-related treatments).

Basement Benders definitely prove their worth on this, their debut LP. They manage to tell engaging stories and play well-executed music with a few fills now and then and without ever boring the listener. Their hooks are catchy and the album’s production is unpolished and a little gritty. Granted, some songs are definitely better and more memorable than others and the band don’t necessarily challenge the genre the least bit. What they do, however, is elevate themselves from most other bands that emerge from the American punk shows. And for now, that’s enough.

Download: First Heat, Modern Medicine, Salt the Roads
For The Fans Of: RVIVR, Elway, Timeshares

Release date 06.11.2015
No Idea Records

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