The great thing about The Amber Bugs, well, one of the many great things, is that there is always plenty of depth to their music. I don’t mean this in a sort of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway sort of way. There aren’t any long, tortured voyages of self-discovery by Puerto Rican street kids set to long, tortured sets of lyrics by Charterhouse posh boys and long, tortured drum solos by cheeky cockney scamps. But there is always something interesting, revealing, relatable lyrically, and layered and rewarding about their music.

Based on a True Story is undoubtedly all of those things, but it is also the most honest piece of music that you will have heard from The Amber Bugs, or anyone else for that matter, in a long time.

Recalling the events of a night long past, it begins with our protagonist meeting the girl of his dreams and ends with him lying on the floor bleeding. I’ll say no more; one spin of the song gives you the whole story, but I will say that there is a stark honesty to the song, one that shows that Ben Kelly isn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side. There is no macho bravado, no ego at work, no sensationalisation, just a reminder that there are some right bastards out there, so watch out.

Musically, it is a slow-burning slice of brilliance—the scene set by just voice and acoustic guitar. As the story progresses, melancholy piano chords add weight, the bass brings depth, and eventually, the drum beat helps drive the tension and punctuate the action. And like any good song that is already turning the sonic heat up, it just keeps going. Strings wash and soar, brass blasts, and the song reaches its dark and uncertain conclusion. Pan back to our hero lying battered and bruised in the gutter. And fade….

If ever there was a cracking treatment for a three-act play, TV pilot or the opening scenes to a film, then this is definitely it. It has everything: a budding romance, a sense of elation, a dark turn, an antagonist who is a total wanker (I’m thinking Jared Leto for this part) and an as-of-yet unresolved future. It should be made. It must be made! And when it is, I know just the people to write the soundtrack!

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