Earpollution.com Review of "Three Squares"

Sometimes while sitting at a bus stop, I'll find myself entranced by the doings of a few sparrows. As they hop and flit about, an explanation for their actions appears in my head: they're encountering old friends, flirting with people, or just enjoying the sunshine.

Basic Food Group are musical sparrows. They examine a riff for a short while, pick it up to see if it interests them, then quickly flit on to another with a quick movement that is almost unseen--one moment they're here, the next over there, acting as if they've been there the entire time. Weaving amongst themselves, the instrumental trio of Steve Boyles (guitar), Todd Larson (bass) and Rik Sferra (drums) take short turns coming forward to flirt with the listener in the hopes of a scrap of attention (and possibly a morsel of food), then darting back to rejoin his compatriots playing in the background. As a result, the album is not so much a collection of individually composed songs as it is one extended capture of a three-musician interplay. One moment can be a strongly-united march tempo, the next borders on dischord and is suitable for falling down stairs to, but throughout it is light and entertaining; full of short grooves that worm their way into the base of your spine, and quality sounds using a minimum of electronic gear. Highlights include the loose-strung bass buzz of "A Day at the Hysterical Farm," the head-bobbing drive of "Suburbs (Revisited)" and the finale "Born Out of a Dream," which is the most evocative of its title of any of the more goofily-named tracks here.

Sparrows may not be the most deeply inspirational animals, but they're always an entertaining diversion, and I have yet to come away from watching them without a tiny smile on my face.

-Paul Goracke, June 1999


Todd Larson