Album review: From the Basement

Predictably unconventional indie pop that falls short 

Composer in chief of Bird Parade, Francis Baptiste unveils a new release where nostalgia and longing for the past are thinly veiled under an array of contemporary indie folk music with subtle electronic underpinnings. Unfortunately, the result is an EP whose highs are short-lived and dull, like sniffing gasoline, and the lows are blasé.

It’s evident by the lyrical content of the release that it’s supposed to evoke sadness and a want for yesteryear. The major drawback from this is the moderately paced and optimistic radio-friendly indie stylings of the instrumentation. One could easily be forgiven for tuning the vocals out and then coming away feeling cheery and hopeful.

Unfitting juxtaposition in the music aside, Baptiste is aptly suited for creating music that balances upon the precipice of mainstream appeal and underground proclivities. While the music may not be ambitious it’s well situated within the bounds of competent songwriting and just enough alternative flair to result in an engaging listen, if you search it out. The commercial ready melodies and aforementioned lack of experimentation do allow for a vapid, albeit pleasant listening experience but the only reason this is possible is due to the seamless way Baptiste is able to coalesce organ with guitar and bubbly synth arpeggiations together.

Ruby Scars, the fourth track on the record is one such case of the sum being a simplified version of its parts. One of the more synth and electronica forward songs on the 15-minute release, Baptiste brings in a variety of ornate synthesizer sounds into a cutesy indie pop ballad that comes off as harmless as it does pretentious.

For all intents and purposes, From the Basement is a release that should be slated for easily digestible mainstream appeal. Baptiste’s vocals have a poppy affectation to them, shown at the forefront during the song, In the Afternoon, but the mixing of his vocals don’t live up to the grandiose standards that are necessary to pull off the stylings he seems to be wishing to emulate.

5/10 – peanut butter toast