The name Bashe comes from the name of a mythical Chinese serpent that eats elephants. Ok. Pretend that’s conventional if you must. Bottom line: Bashe have it down. That experimental pop/rock sound is near effortless. Their album, Open Up, is full of moments that combine the elements of math rock and effect-driven riffs with dance pop hooks and heavy electronic soundscapes. One might think math-rock complexity with a danceable pop sensibility. A few of the tracks on Open Up” mix African-style staccato- plucked guitar and lo-fi indie production with vocals performed with gusto and ability but the parts are a little repetitive without ever really threatening to move into top gear. Maybe even just another sound layer or elemental instrument, hell a doubling of drum track could have taken these adventures to the zenith. But we get damn close nonetheless.
Bashe's debut EP Open Up is six tracks, emphasizing the untapped experience of Miscellaneous Sound in Denton, TX. I have a feeling these guys were having a blast in there. “Colfax” moves with such bravado, the mean guitar with that no BS backbeat creates a car stereo pumper classic. “Splitter” has a lovely catchy riff and funky drum line just shy of the minute mark. Good luck getting it out of your head. It’s perfect sound and attack, great length of passage as well. It’s always a pleasure when a group knows they’ve struck gold with a riff and don’t shy away from repetition.
“Hold Weight” carries some weight of its own. The guitars march along with crunch and the drums embrace sustaining cymbal washes. Leave it to the hi hat to bring the dance back in. Those not on the floor already are helplessly being guided to their feet in celebration. On “Open Up” the standard beat is again played with, this time it’s 7/8. But what’s more is that it alternates with 4/4. If you nod along the hits line up and then they complement, then line up again. The unfamiliar pulse reinforces the 4/4 even more.
A dark drone of synth introduces “Rollover” before everything falls victim to the spastically tinged workings of these creative Texans. This track also has a distinct melodic passage around the 2-minute mark. Bashe uses excellent patience in their arranging. The intensity and rich chords/rhythms always have time to grow and strengthen before they are fully displayed.
Bashe is one of a kind. Pushing the boundaries of what is electronic, what is pop, and what is love? Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt. No more. But I digress. Open Up `was a welcome gift to my ears and I wish you all to have the same experience I did as you sample this treat from the South.
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