Vicky Speedboat - Two Years No Basement (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Vicky Speedboat

Two Years No Basement (2015)


Two Years No Basement is a strong, pummeling EP with songwriting that screams so it doesn't break down. Featuring members of Steady Hands and Modern Baseball, these six tracks of battering, pained pop-punk are reminiscent of the Gaslight Anthem and Baseball and is certainly for fans of a certain kind of tragic angst. But it's core strength is that it's centered entirely around the specific, raging grief over the death of a lover, the kind that sends the singers into spirals of loneliness and selfish, raw regret. The main refrain of opener "Philadelphia Contact Fire" is "I'm not gonna be alone anymore" finally churning into "I don't wanna be alone anymore", the ambiguity of someone wondering whether joining the person you love in death is better than living every day.

As much as the music is like much 21st century pop punk (albeit well-played), songwriting though in its detail and character based storytelling smacks of the Boss and  the Hold Steady among others. "Kelly won't you just call me over, I want you in my skin and bones," Huber screams before admitting "I don't wanna spend another night alone." The characters throughout, like the dead lover remembered on hooky closer "Weathering Bell", drink too much and take pills by the mouthful, trapped in their present sins and past transgressions and looking for salvation.

Vicky Speedboat aren't writing songs about salvation found of course - that's rarely to be found even in the sounds of feedback and hard, fast guitars. But there's something to be said for the simple act of playing and listening, especially for pop-punk, and this is absolutely worth a listen even if it won't lift up your spirits. As they yell in the final song "I'm trying!"