Basketball Shorts – The Houston Sessions

By Brian Audette


If you’ve ever wondered why no one has written a song about Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump, then Basketball Shorts’ latest EP may be for you. Their second EP in less than a year, The Houston Sessions contains five new tracks that are a blast of pop punk reminiscent of the fast & loose styling of early punkers like the Ramones. According to the band, the songs that make up The Houston Sessions were mostly written in the few weeks leading up to their recording and compared to their previous releases there is definitely a sense of “just go with it” that seems to jive with the last minute nature of their inception. This tends to work in Basketball Shorts’ favor though as their already stripped down sound works well with these short, fast, almost improvisational songs.

Musically, Basketball Shorts’ sound is about as straightforward punk as you can get. With just a guitar, bass, and drum, the songs on The Houston Sessions keep things simple, but fun and with no stray guitar wank or rock machismo to get in the way. While it may be too simple or too cliche for some, Basketball Shorts’ three-chord strains are my kind of pop. Lyrically the majority of songs on the EP follow the music, relying heavily on the repetition of a couple lines. Conceptually speaking, the trio’s songs seem more about playing music and having a good time than anything else and I found most of the lyrics vague enough that they could have been referencing anything from relationships, to drugs, to candy bars, with the exception of the aforementioned song about Lt. Dan’s “Magic Legs.”

Taken as a whole, The Houston Sessions reaches a little shorter and feels a little more raw (but not quite rushed) than the band’s previous releases, but as a caveat the production has taken a step up while retaining a kind of garage grit. Fans of other local punks like OBN III’s and Dikes of Holland will know what I’m talking about. That “lo-fi on purpose” layer of fuzz that covers such recordings is not necessarily my cup of tea, but it doesn’t harm what Basketball Shorts are doing either. At this level, punk music always seems to be about what’s going on live and so far Basketball Shorts recordings have been more or less a chronicle of a punk trio having fun and playing fast. I’d definitely add these songs to a summer mix and so should you.