By Oliver Shasha
Citing his influences from the Post-Punk and New-Wave movements of the late 1970s and early 80s, it’s easy to understand and visualise the kind of style that singer-songwriter Austin Basinger favours. With a myriad of influences which are as broad in genre as they are in timespan (Talking Heads, R.E.M, Mac Demarco), Austin has clearly come into songwriting via an encyclopaedic understanding of alternative guitar music.
His latest track ‘Change’ captures the beautiful and ethereal nature of 80s legends The Smiths and The Cure. Heavily modulated guitars dance between the recurring Morrissey-like vocal interludes. A progressive drum beat ensures that momentum is never lost and compliments the swiftness of the song’s structure. As it nears conclusion, the haunting synth chords swell amongst the everpresent guitar melodies, in this form the song hits a new high, slowly and softly fading away into the harrowing ambiguity of silence.
In a music culture plagued by 50p Ableton samples and radio standard recordings for less than the price of an entry level six string, the production of ‘Change’ is far from conventional. The drums and guitars have a human-like quality which unmasks the imperfections of live recordings, allowing for a relatable and fresh flavour to Austin’s jangly pop composition. Listening to the drums on ‘Change’, the listener can easily visualise the sight of the player in action, the unorthodox hair and unfashionable shoes, with only the presence of an instrument pulling the subject over the thin line between cool and everyone else.
‘Change’ is not a single that’s going to hoover up mainstream radio plays and dominate the charts, that’s not the point or the purpose of the music, nor was it when Austin’s heroes of the 80s made their best hits. ‘Change’ is the love letter that leaves the listener overwhelmed with nostalgia for a period that they weren’t even alive in, the era seemingly visualised through a lens of limitless possibilities, where society was rife with counterculture and a divisive political landscape that gave everyone something to protest about. And as you awake from your 80s style daydream, you think to yourself, nobody makes music like that anymore. Or do they?
Listen to ‘Change’ here:
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