While the opening track to “Basement Songs” sounds a little emo-influenced during the beginning bars, the track “Vera” moves into a blend of Elvis Costello and ska music. The ultimate style of The Stolen Records during this track is quite like if The Anniversary on an Aquabats record. The energy present on the earlier stages of “Basement Songs” is something that cannot be denied. The Stolen Records make an album that individuals would kill to be able to bounce around to, and this is done with a style that does not hinge on any one pre-existing music style.
The use of an intricate bass line to lead out “Being Useless is Useful” further increases the band’s tock in many listeners’ eyes. The sped up tempo of “What It Is” is reminiscent of early Screeching Weasel, but the dual vocals of the track have a familiar quality that I cannot easily point my finger on. Still, The Stolen Records are able to crack out track after track that will have listeners up and happy, and desiring to hear more from the band.
The most interesting change to The Stolen Records’ style comes during “Baltimore Dub”, which is a short track that recalls early ska and reggae (as its title may suggest). This is continued during “Tequila Reggae”, a song that meshes better with the rest of the tracks. The tempo may still be different than most of the tracks on the disc, but there is some continuity between “Tequila Reggae” and “Being Useless is Useful”. The reggae groove continues during “Wait for Something to Wait For” (the band likes their punny and goofy song titles), which will remind individuals of a Bob Marley meets 311 mashup. This is as per usual a track that could easily make it onto the highest registers of the CMJ, so here’s to hoping those in the know will be able to find a copy of this album. The band is on fire but does not seem to be at a level fo fame which they deserve. This is as if The Stolen Records of 2017 were able to cull all the recordings they had since 2007 and put them into a greatest hits package. Fun, bouncy, and musically solid, “Basement Songs” is an album that needs to be purchased out by any true fan of music. Give The Stolen Records and spin and chances are great that one will not be disappointed.
Top Tracks: Being Useless is Useful, Vera
The Stolen Records – Basement Songs / 2006 Self / 18 Tracks / www.thestolenrecords.com / Reviewed 12 January 2006
The Stolen Records - Basement Songs (CD)