ALBUM REVIEW: Basement – Promise Everything
It’s been just under two years since Ipswich emo elites Basement shocked us with their sudden return, less than two years after the group announced that they were going on indefinite hiatus just after the release of their excellent sophomore album ColourmeinKindness in 2012. Since their return they’ve been relentless with their work ethic, touring all over the globe playing all manner of different size shows and even having time in-between to drop an excellent three track EP (Further Sky) in 2014 to prove their intent to remain a creative force and not one of the many bands who reform, play a few shows for nostalgia’s sake and disappear again.
Promise Everything is the band’s third full length record and once again see’s them alter their sound – though you wouldn’t know this from the album’s first couple of tracks. Opener Brother’s Keeper opens up the record with a fast paced catchy hook which compliments vocalist Andrew Fisher’s accomplished vocal performances. This fast pace keeps up on second track Hanging Around which has a real sense of urgency to its tempo; it’s a track that sounds like it’s being played with time quickly running out. The vocals might sound a lot more polished and radio friendly on these first couple of tracks but this takes nothing away from Basement’s intensity and sense of urgency.
Lead single Aquasun can be described as the most uplifting track that the band have released, the instrumentation (the guitars in particular) are very clean sounding, there’s a guitar solo in it and the track is led by a chorus so huge you’d easily mistake it for belonging on a Jimmy Eat World record. However the track, whilst solid, is a bit pedestrian and unmemorable: there’s nothing wrong with it per say, but there’s certainly nothing here that other bands haven’t done better in the past.
Two of the more interesting tracks on the record are Oversized and album closer Halo which both see the band experiment with shoegaze influences, reminiscence of Title Fight’s most recent record or Turnover’s excellent record Peripheral Vision. These tracks show off the talents of the band as musicians but frankly lead to nowhere; whilst it’s great to see the band take risks and try new things these two tracks definitely feel out of place on the record.
The album’s title track however, is up there with one of the best tracks on the record. This is a song filled with the excellent musicianship (particularly from bassist Duncan Stewart who delivers a terrific bassline which the band builds around the its climax), an aggressive fast tempo and a killer chorus to boot.
Promise Everything is a solid record with plenty of things to like. On many tracks on this record the excellent instrumentals and huge choruses really complement each other to give us some really memorable songs and choruses that we’ll no doubt be singing back at the band in tours to come (Blinded Bye in particular delivers when it comes to writing an ace radio friendly alt rock anthem). However this record is not without its flaws: the overly polished production (particularly on the vocals) doesn’t often sound right next to some of the grittier guitar moments, particularly on tracks such as Submission. Additionally some of the tricks with the huge choruses frankly are very average and forgettable, whilst Aquasun and the title track are both huge tunes. Some of the tracks later in the record such as Lose Your Grip and For You The Moon are rather bland and sound like they could be covers of a 90’s Oasis b-side’s.
Whilst Promise Everything is not Basement’s strongest effort, fans and new listeners alike should find plenty to enjoy on this record. One thing we can’t fault Basement on is that they are always trying new things with their sound and it’s fascinating to see where they go next, especially if they fulfil their potential this album will give them to jump from a cult band to one of the big hitters of UK alternative music.
Standout Track: Hanging Around
For Fans Of: Moose Blood, Turnover, Title Fight
Written By: Cameron Law