BASEMENT BREW | BIG DAMN OCEAN | 9.0
Some bands have a sound that grab you right from the start. Whether it’s guitar tone, melodies, harmonies, hooks, or the sounds of the keys, bass or drums, some acts just know what works.
Enter Basement Brew. The Fayetteville quintet, consisting of Lee Zodrow on keys and vocals, Patrick George on lead guitar, Gideon Haden on rhythm guitar and vocals, Will Eubanks on bass and vocals, and Chris Fletcher on drums and percussion, released their second full-length record, “Big Damn Ocean,” in October.
“Big Damn Ocean” follows a similar path as the band’s previous releases, but that doesn’t mean their work is stale. Rather, it’s just the opposite. The band has developed a remarkably timeless sound that blends modern indie and folk with country and blues and even a dash of yacht rock. Their compositions are infectious and unique and oh, so pretty.
Zodrow is a member of one of my favorite local acts, Lost John, so by default, I feel an obligation to consume anything from the Lost John family tree. But you’ll find that while there are similarities to Lost John in Basement Brew’s work, the band is stylistically different.
If you spend some time listening to “Big Damn Ocean” (which you should), what you’ll first notice is strong musical craftsmanship that may draw some comparisons to modern folk acts like The Avett Brothers or Dawes. But if you study the album even closer, you’ll find that it’s just as strong lyrically, which, given the group’s preference for classic acts like Bob Dylan, The Band or Paul Simon, makes a ton of sense.
The lyrical reference points on the album draw upon life, love and everything else in between. And on standout tracks like “Falconer,” “Made it Through” and “Evangeline,” you get enough of an sample size to tell you what this band is and what makes them tick.
It’s just a beautiful record through and through and each time I listen to it, I find another layer that I really like. But I think the thing that keeps drawing me back is the storytelling — which is honestly the key to any great record. And I appreciate the way Basement Brew goes about it, too. It’s an honest record about honest topics that everyone can relate to. And they have some great lyrical nuggets too, like this one:
“Can’t you see? It’s love that makes life better than our dreams,” Zodrow sings on Falconer.
The songs on the record aren’t particularly complex, which makes them easier to digest. But the album’s simplicity the band’s ability to write approachable, down-to-earth songs with great structure is what keeps me coming back.
A well-done effort on behalf of Basement Brew and I look forward to what’s next for them.