Album Review: Brett Basil’s Exceed


by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

Artist: Brett Basil

Album: Exceed

Label: Redlight Records

Rating 2.0/5.0

Here at the music desk the “powers that be” in all their… eh, hem, Gonzo wisdom have adopted the policy of what we in the biz call ‘open submission’. Basically asking bands to send us just… whatever. Which in my experience can certainly be a blessing.

However, the blessings are usually few and what normally occurs is a small pain in the back of the ass.

In this age of digital home studios and their availability (sadly) to every caliber of musician, independent recordings are being churned out like so much mystery meat. In fact, just like the meat, a lot of the music is slimy and gross.

As a musician myself I know that we are very capable of over embellishment and prone to “delusions of grandeur”. Yet I feel that instinct has multiplied itself in the digital world. Egos are out of control, the music is mediocre and quite frankly, it’s bothersome.

But why? Why do we suffer through the thick mucky mire of openly submitted music that reposes within the dregs of the modern music experience? Because there are the true cliched “diamonds” out there and when you find them it’s damned near the level of a spiritual orgasm. You want to catch them! It happens. That’s why, we spend the hours in here, listening. To find that next pure sound. To find the needle in the horse dung.

Brett Basil’s ‘Exceed’ is not that needle.

I received the poorly-written biographical info that told me the following:

“Multi-award winning composer, producer, vocalist and multi -instrumentalist Brett Basil has 30+ years in the music scene, and with no less than 3 new CD’S he has worked on out soon- Brett Basil has indeed established himself as a well versed musician, singer and songwriter throughout the US, Canada and the UK. With solo CD’S plus a stellar history of recording, writing and performing with many acts.”

Well geez, so much room for speculation, nothing too specific, just music industry lingo and make it as vague as possible. Sounds like important stuff, right? It went further to say:

“Brett has written for 2 other cds “{Tunnel Vision” by Boys’ Entrance, and, Juha-“Every Step Is A Migration”} this year as well as “E-X-C-E-E-D” , out on 12-4 2016 on Red Light Records and Produced by Jordan Egler.”

Wait. Boys Entrance? Juha? Jordan Elger? “N-O W-A-Y!” Names that obviously mean…something to someone and doesn’t “Red Light” mean stop? Also, the only real information I was able to truly clarify was that YES in fact there is a thing known as Brett Basil and a collection of songs called, ‘Exceed’. All the other stuff, maybe not so much. We are however in this new realm of alternative facts so, let’s dig in.

The first track ‘In The Raw’ I will admit is not too bad but, that is where it seems Brett’s uniqueness runs squarely into the wall. The rest of the “CD” is comprised of songs that while they have legitimate feeling and heart they are by and large particularly unimpressive. That becomes wildly obvious during the song ‘Heartbeat’. It was this song (the SECOND track) where I began to suspect that maybe Brett wasn’t the “well versed singer songwriter” he had been described as. I was a little pissed that I was lied to truthfully. The musical feel of this album is so redundant that it’s hard to distinguish one guitar intro from the next.

Another song that didn’t suck completely would be ‘Hard to Believe’, it has a spirit resting squarely in some 80’s sports movie training montage. The actual odor and flavor of the music contained in this album are rather dated. It’s not all negative. I will say that the music is very coherent. The ideas are obvious, but poorly fertilized. A listener certainly won’t spend much time trying to decipher the deep meaning of Basil’s lyrics. This can be easily noticed during ‘Get A Life’, one more that fits into the aesthetic of the soundtrack to a ‘Police Academy’ movie.

‘Exceed’ contains 11 tracks of… music. Not exactly something I would considered moving. I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of indie records (the cheap ones) from thirty years ago. Perhaps I would have been less harsh had the description not been so pretentious and high falutin.

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