Review Summary: Songwriting supergroup hangs out.
Well I suppose you could call them a supergroup, even if the finished product here never quite reaches super heights. Basement Birds is the ramshackle side-project of four kindly Australian songwriters. Kav Temperly (Eskimo Joe), Kevin Mitchell (Jebediah, Bob Evans), Josh Pyke and Perth rocking veteran Steve Parkin have decided to bash instruments together and record them, culminating in this debut album, which is just charming
Each member takes turns leading the vocals - usually within a single track - leaving comparisons to the likes of The Travelling Wilburys all too easy. Running with this analogy, Kav Temperly stands out as the group's Tom Petty, with his warbling drawl juxtaposing the rest of the group's more subtle
efforts. The songwriting is a shared effort also, and every track brims with the sort of backyard sophistication that only results from a group of mates sitting around together and sinking piss.
The playful "Bus Stop" is the most obvious outcome of this formula. One of the only truly upbeat numbers on the album, it's a barrel of a track with a quirky melody and charming vocal interplay. Julia Stone provides some sweetly backing vocals, and the effect is marvellous, adding to what was already an adorable pop thumb-clicker. "Skin of the Sky" is an even sweeter number, with the backing whistles reinforcing the heart-swelling melody. Ballads dominate most of the album, with opener "Waiting for You" giving a good preview at what is to come.
However, with most of the acoustic-inclined tracks rolling one into the other, Basement Birds
doesn't end up being a groundbreaking album. It's a group of like-minded friends getting together between gigs and making something of it. As a result, it's a quaint addition to the resumes of these proven artists, but nothing more. For those looking for an avian-inspired slab of loosely woven pop-rock; may I suggest getting out of the basement and heading to Tokyo?