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Jim Basnight — Summertime Peculiar
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-04-03

Summertime Peculiar Cover art

With Summertime Peculiar, songwriter Jim Basnight takes his catchy tunes and presents them in a somewhat different way than on previous albums. Instead of solid rock arrangements centered on electric guitar, the 21 songs here are arranged with strings, woodwinds, brass, and various acoustic instruments. Some of the tracks on his covers collection, Jokers, Idols & Misfits, included some of these elements, but now he’s gone all in on the chamber pop flavor. There are a number of different flavors included, with some songs tinged with psychedelia, some leaning towards soul, some towards country, and others towards Basnight’s more typical power pop. Several songs are reminiscent of the more acoustic side of the Rolling Stones (think “Wild Horses”) while others take a more whimsical approach, like the bouncy “Riding Rainbows,” which takes a cue from the late 60s. Don’t get me wrong — there are a few rockers in the mix, such as “Guilty,” which is one of my favorites. Regardless of the styles touched on in the arrangements, Basnight’s skill as a songwriter remains constant, full of catchy melodies and clever turns of phrase. With 21 songs running right up to the limits of a CD’s capacity, Summertime Peculiar is maybe a bit much for a single sitting, though none of the songs is a throwaway — I’m somewhat less fond of the soul-flavored songs, but your mileage may vary. Just consider it getting your money’s worth, and listen to it in segments.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Jim Basnight

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