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Former (?) Connection singer Brad Marino has spent the last couple of years conquering the power pop world, but for Basement Beat he’s going for something slightly different. Simply put, Marino’s third LP pays homage to the Ramones. Though all the songs are originals, they each hew to the Bruddas’ methodology: short songs, simple chord changes, easy hooks, frills-less rhythms, and lyrics riding the fine line between clever and stupid. Joined only by drummer Beau Basement and a proud assertion that “no upstrokes were used in the making of this record,” Marino whacks out dumb/brilliant pastiches like “Communist Creep,” “Nancy is Narcoleptic,” “Sick Sick Sick Sick” and, inevitably, “Brain Gone Dead.” Given Marino’s own melodic instincts, which lead him to add sweet harmonies to “That Girl” (but hey, the Beach Boys were a Ramones influence, right?), it’s not a perfect replica, but straight copies wouldn’t be as much fun as the real thing anyway. In keeping with the spirit of the Ramones, Basement Beat is only 23 minutes long in any case. “I don’t wanna go down to the basement,” Joey Ramone once sang, but this basement proves an exception.
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