Good Morning

Basketball Breakdowns

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AllMusic Review by

When Good Morning were on tour in Japan in late 2018, the foursome stopped by a recording studio to document some new songs. Basketball Breakdowns is the result, a short album made up of laid-back rockers and lo-fi ballads. Unlike The Option, which was released earlier in 2019 and featured a focused, almost-hard-rocking version of the band, this is a looser, less-structured experience. Many of the finished songs are made up of early takes, instruments meander through the songs, the vocals sound barely awake, and the songs themselves are mostly rambling and less focused on hooks than on overall feel. That being said, this is still the work of a band in full control of their sound and able to seemingly toss off great indie rock songs in the vein of Pavement or Parquet Courts with no effort or sweat. "Classic Quips" is the kind of shaggy dog story with a looping groove that is immediately enticing to anyone who likes casual jams, "Best Supporting Actor" is the record's uptempo winner built around an insistent beat, spiky guitars, some random cowbell, and perfectly drawled vocals, and "But We're Not There Yet" is a piano-driven, barely held-together pop song that would sound great fully produced but charms anyway with its lo-fi wobbliness. These are the first three songs on the record, and they start things off with a low-key bang that's hard to top. Still, the remaining songs are a fine batch of squiggly rockers ("Garden"). fragile acoustic ballads ("Pat"), and songs that bury the heartbreak in pianos and out of tune guitars ("War on Me"). On first listen, Basketball Breakdowns might seem like a slight album from the band, especially considering how well-put-together The Option was, but multiple listens reveal just how strong the songs and the performances are, and serve as a reminder to anyone who might have forgotten just how good Good Morning are at landing a heavy emotional punch disguised with a seemingly casual, almost off-handed punch.

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