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Advance Base - Nephew in the Wild

  by Daniel Cressey

published: 8 / 10 / 2015

Advance Base - Nephew in the Wild
Label: Tomlab
Format: CD


Melancholic musings on American life finds ex-Casiotone for the Painfully Alone front man Owen Ashworth with his new project Advance Base on familiar but fertile musical ground

Although Owen Ashworth has ditched his previous moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, he remains resolutely true to the music he has always made: downbeat, lo-fi electronic songs of things going badly, or wrong, or badly wrong. The songs on 'Nephew in the Wild' - his second album as Advance Base - are perhaps slightly more deliberately lo-fi than much of his back catalogue. It may have been recorded in his Illinois basement but there's a level of production here that did not exist in his early Casiotone days. And if the instruments sound fuzzy it is through intention rather than lack-of-resources. Anchoring it all is the true constant of all his releases: Ashworth's seconds-from-just-giving-up-on-it-all delivery. These are songs of loss and disillusion. Album closer 'Kitty Winn' (a reference to the actress in 'The Exorcist') covers him getting married and taking his child to play on the swings, but he still sounds so unhappy he might break at any minute. The chorus of "I’m not out looking for something I haven’t found/You won’t see me around/I’ve got a family now" sounds anything but positive about this change. When Ashworth gives up vocal duties to guest Jody Weinmann on 'My Love for You is Like a Puppy Underfoot', it transforms his music into something lesser. Despite Weinmann’s talents, this is a twee, cloying and knowing song. Elsewhere there is real pathos in Ashworth's lyrics. At his best he delivers beautiful wrought pictures of American life: hitting a moose on the road, catching a train, bad jobs, bad choices. The fact that he - like most of the people in his songs - just keeps on keeping on amid all this makes this album comforting when it could have been depressing or even self-pitying. 'Nephew in the Wild' might not win him any new fans, but admirers of music that can be downbeat without being maudlin and overwrought still have a cult hero in Ashworth.

Track Listing:-
1 Trisha Please Come Home
2 Might of the Moose
3 Christmas in Dearborn
4 Pamela
5 Christmas in Milwaukee
6 Summon Satan
7 My Love for You Is Like a Puppy U
8 The Only Other Girl from Back Hom
9 Nephew in the Wild
10 Kitty Winn

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