Even more alone

Owen Ashworth was once known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, one of the more apt "band" names ever. He's been Advance Base for a few years now, and this is the second album under that banner.

Advance Base
Nephew in the Wild
Ashworth's straightforward mumble hasn't changed a lot, though he does include a bit of melody here and there. The music is more guitar-based, though he'll still wander back into keyboard-driven territory when the mood is right. In other words, this is an evolution, but not one that would drive away fans.

I always liked the music feel of CFTPA, which fused the whimsy of cheap keybpoards with much darker themes. Advance Base has a lighter and richer tone, and the feel is open. The production on these songs is still pretty minimal, but it allows these songs much more room to roam.

Ashworth hasn't so much changed his lyrical bent as focused it. Instead of loads of detail around fairly small events, these songs tend to take on ideas themselves. The feel is more diffuse and abstract (which probably also weighs in on my openness notion), giving the listener plenty of space for rumination.

Lo-fi was the next place laptop pop was headed, and Advance Base does it a solid. The stars here are the songs, and their settings are intriguing. As long as Ashworth keeps adjusting his musical wardrobe, I'll be there for the show.

Jon Worley

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