Boston-based group, The Stolen Records’ second
full length outing, Basement Songs feels immediately,
but pleasantly anachronistic. Third-wave ska in 2007?
But the group’s unendingly positive attitude
and frenetic drive makes this disc a worthy pickup
for anyone who might’ve skanked away a few mid-90’s
nights to Mealticket or Bim Skala Bim (more Boston
kids) or for a new generation of punk-bop teens.
The Stolen Records are most intoxicating when kicking
out pure ska-punk blazers like “Being Useless
is Useful,” where amped rock-steady guitars,
firebrand synth lines and duel male-female vocal harmonies
mobilize the inherently catchy melodies present throughout Basement
Songs. “Serotonin Dub” is a solid departure
from the more rock leanings, with a slithering
bass line and post-production playfulness. It’s
a shame that the other sketches arbitrarily named dubs
(“Divorce Dub,” “Baltimore Dub,” etc…)
don’t continue this aesthetic and act more as
transitions than worthwhile stand-alone songs.
Some rough waters drench the latter half of the disc,
with the flailing raunch of “86 Luck” and
the highly derivative “The Drinking Song” (which
is a pale, uber-lite version of Reel Big Fish’s “Beer”). “O.K.” treads
uncomfortably within the realm of smiley-face positivity
frat-rock (a la O.A.R.) with its winding keys and “La
de da de da / Everything’s okay” chorus.
Luckily the call-to-arms, teenage philosophy rockout “Devil-Talk” and
slacker punk sing-along “Chronophodia” inject
a needed dose of adrenaline. Even though the band is
working within an out of vogue genre, the Stolen Records
could have a reemerging trend on their hands with this
solid ska record.
Favorite Track: Track 2, "Being Useless is Useful”