EP Review: Steph by Austin Basinger

North Carolina native Austin Basinger released his debut EP, titled Steph, in early February 2018. The four-track album is a short but lovely body of bright swirling guitar tones, ethereal vocals, and a relaxing atmosphere. His body of work can be found on Bandcamp at austinbasinger.bandcamp.com.

The opening track, “Missing You,” introduces you to a lo-fi guitar tune, somewhere lost in the ether between happiness and melancholy, which—when coupled with the-low register, reverb-washed vocals—embodies remembrance of a friend and lover, once happy and content, but now absent. The wash of tone and registers reminds me of artists such as Ariel Pink, The Church, and Wild Nothing, all of which capture melancholy perfectly through oceans of reverb and chorus effects.

The second track, “Running,” starts off quick, hectic, and full of life; like a dream of neon skies and open, rolling hills as far as the eye can see. The vocals glide over the busy chord work, slow clouds observing the running of life below, carrying on unfulfilled and wanting. The song carries on and ends with the same guitar sequence and busy drums underneath without slowing down or showing any indication of stopping—very appropriate of what its title would imply.

“She’s Back,” the third track on the album, opens with a quick, chaotic rhythm of excitement highlighted by the ride cymbal and the snare drum. But as the vocals and guitar come in to the scene, the chaotic rhythm feels natural and the excitement becomes normal—like the feeling of your heart skipping a beat upon seeing the one you love after a long time, and your heartbeat remaining elevated until it just feels natural.

The final track on the EP, “All of This Time,” is like the end of a movie. The lyrics as well as the overall tone leave me feeling as though all of the thoughts and emotions of the previous songs have been resolved, with only memory to recall and reflect on the past. The song moves slowly, at the pace of credits in a romance film. Between the steady rhythm and the slow pace, the song feels as though it’s meant to be a lullaby, ready to wash fears, anxieties, and worries away, with only a new day to look forward to.

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