The Basics : The Age of Entitlement – Beat mag

Six years since their last release – during which time the band members variously lived in Kenya, experienced devastating break-ups and rose to worldwide fame (Wally De Backer/Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know) – The Basics are back with their fourth studio album, The Age of Entitlement.

Despite being recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios in London, The Age of Entitlement is undoubtedly a love letter to Australia. Albeit a confusing and difficult love conveyed through a mash-up of blues, folk, indie and Caribbean sounds that reflects the band’s diverse personalities and experiences.

Does it work? Well, sort of. Bassist Kris Schroeder sums up their undefinable genre best, “We’re moody people. We do not have a particular sound.” This genre-bending character means the album’s capable of both starting a riot and placating one.
The Basics have a complicated relationship with Australia. Throughout The Age of Entitlement they confront social inequalities with similar passion to Midnight Oil, encouraging the need for deeper reflection. Amid short, hard riffs, Time Poor reflects on Andrew Bolt, asylum seekers and the Australia’s environmental apathy (“Climate Change? I haven’t got time for that”); while Working Class could easily be an ode to Joe Hockey: “Whatever happened to the working class/ We have politicians sitting on their arse.”

The album alternates between political rants and chilled-out beachy sounds that feel like sunshine prickling your skin. Ashleigh Wakes and Roundabout are fast, feel-good tracks telling the listener, “You can do anything you want.” Final song, Feels Like Love Does, is a bitof a melancholic downer that dampens the sunshine parade of the preceding tracks.

Ultimately, The Basics have produced an experimental album that’s enjoyable, but also confusing.

First published for Beat mag