Singer/songwriter multi-instrumentalist/renaissance man Owen Ashworth is the driving creative force behind Advance Base, who earned heaps of praise for their 2012 full-length debut “A Shut-In’s Prayer.” After that record dropped, however, Ashworth turned his attention to other endeavors. He published a book of drawings, produced dozens of albums for other artists, played electric piano on Sun Kil Moon’s 2014 release “Benji” and even laid down some beats for Chicago rapper Serengeti.
At long last Ashworth’s focus has returned to Advance Base and the result is dynamite sophomore long player “Nephew in the Wild.” The 10-track collection of lo-fi indie rock and electronic pop was recorded in true DIY fashion — in the basement of Ashworth’s suburban Chicago home. The low-key, often downbeat platter isn’t necessarily going to put a smile on your face, but it’s never less than captivating from beginning to end.
Opener “Trisha Please Come Home” sets the tone and you will know right away if Advance Base are the band for you. Among the many additional standouts here are “Pamela,” “Christmas in Milwaukee,” “My Love for You Is Like a Puppy Underfoot, the sprawling title track and “Kitty Winn.” Good stuff. (Jeffrey Sisk)