Bascom Hill – Inevitable
July 8, 2009
Bascom Hill is a band I’ve been following around since late 2006. They debuted with their album “Maybe” in 2005 and the smooth mainstream pop/rock sound they displayed was of a very high level already. I remember feeling impressed with how natural it sounded. They have a sound similar to Vertical Horizon, The Fray, John Mayer, Lifehouse, and other contemporaries, but I would especially refer to Vertical Horizon, because Bascom Hill showcases that same sound that has the roots in the songwriting but still comes together as a band sound.
On “Inevitable”, the band showcases that mix of pop and rock influences again. The production of the album is very well done and the songs come out in a way that mainstream radio can only embrace them. Catchy, uptempo singalongs with relatable lyrics. With a bit of luck this could very well be the band’s break out album.
Starting with the very catchy Go On which has that alternative pop feel reminiscent of Vertical Horizon on “Everything You Want”, the album is off to a very good start. With energy and passionate vocals this song has the right inensity to shine on the radio. Bascom Hill continues with another catchy pop/rock song called Between Poses. The song has the radio-friendliness of a The Fray song and the vocals are from a very high quality. If you aren’t singing along to the chorus after two listens I think you’re doing something wrong.
Then on to one of my favorites. My World is another song that needs to be heard on radio. It was actually the first song off “Inevitable” I heard and I was instantly convinced of its potential. Very catchy and the chorus, once again, is money in the bank. On Ever Wish, the band takes down the pace and that results in a beautiful acoustic, mid-tempo ballad. The lyrics speak to you, because of the universally recognizable message in them and the combination of the ‘smaller sound’ of the song and the soothing vocals give this song just the right character. The band sticks to an (semi-)acoustic sounds on Hello, but they combine it with the uptempo catchiness from the previous songs. A very laid-back, yet energetic (interesting, right?) track and when Charlie Victor sings “you had already walked away..” I can just feel what he’s singing.
On Mystified, Bascom Hill shows a more gritty, rock & roll sound and the added energy and power doesn’t take away anything from the song. Just like on their debut CD, the band shows that they know how to balance between a more poppy and a more alternative sound. Good placement of the song too! A more soulful, soothing sound is shown on Ivy, which is a song that grows on you. The arrangement is actually very strong and with every listen I start to like it a little bit more.
Everytime I listen to For You, I just get silent and let the music take over. The subtle instruments, the touching vocals and the impressive build up of this song are excellent. I like how the acoustic guitar and the piano bring out the mood of this song with near perfection. It may not be the jumpy, uptempo radio single, but musically this is quite impressive. My initial thoughts were that Prettiest Girl isn’t the most memorable track on the album. It doesn’t hold a lot of tension or excitement in the arrangement and while musically and vocally it is performed perfectly and the song is very soothing, it has more of a bonus track feel to it than an actual album track.
Then back to one of my favorites. Save Me is another radio single candidate if you ask me. The pointy, uptempo song has a modern rock & roll feel and is an instant foot tapper. It’s quite danceable and has a killer chorus. Good hooks and outstanding musical delivery. One of the very best songs on the album. The title track, Inevitable, is a very cool rock & roll track with a very good beat to it. Mix it, press it onto a CDS and release it to radio and both pop & rock fans should both start to request this on their local stations.
We then get to the interesting album closer. Where’d You Go has a little bit of an americana/blues feel to it, especially in the intro and in the vocal vibe. It is slightly (just slightly) reminiscent of a John Mayer-esque song. It is quite different from the rest of the album, and the demo feel of the song really works. It’s like a dessert after the main course. And it tastes very well!
Bascom Hill makes music that falls into the most crowded genre of music possible. So a lot of critics might say it sounds like this or that, say it is nothing we haven’t heard before, etc. etc. I tend to disagree. Yes, there are similarities with other bands, I named a few myself. But Bascom Hill manages to display a sound of their own, and they bring quality, intensity and enthusiasm to the table. They show they have what it takes to make it. “Inevitable” is a record that shows diversity within the genre and shows that the band can easily pull off that variety. There is a high level of songwriting, convincing and believable delivery of the songs and an overall class that makes them not only noticeable but also ranks them among the top acts in their genre.