Following their three year hiatus, UK punk rock band Basement return in 2016 with their second full length LP ‘Promise Everything’. Fans found cause for excitement in 2014 when the band dropped their ‘Further Sky’ EP but things quickly went quiet again and now is the first time we’re seeing anything solid in the way of a future for Basement, including a full UK tour starting next week.
The band currently live in the US and it’s been clear since their first EP in 2010 that American bands have had an influence on their sound. The band’s guitarist Alex Henery described their sound as ‘kinda like Jimmy Eat World, but a bit more abrasive’. I’d say this was accurate, especially with regards to this latest album.
Promise Everything opens with quite a classic Basement-sounding song ‘Brothers Keeper’. The mix of tempos and warm guitar sounds ensure Basement haven’t lost the sound that gained them their fans. However, this track sets the tone for the album as noticeably less grungy then their previous effort ‘Colourmeinkindness’. The ‘Further Sky’ EP did seem to suggest a future with stronger melodies and more uplifting lyrics, but I have to say I kind of miss the somewhat self-indulgent moodiness of their previous record. I still don’t think I’ll find a better song to entertain my inner-emo better than ‘Breathe’.
It’s Noticeably less Grungy than Colourmeinkindness
Having said that, I can’t deny that this record definitely shows advances in the band’s songwriting and instrumentation. ‘Submission’ sees a killer guitar solo, ‘Aquasun’ and ‘Blinded Bye’ boast possibly the strongest melodies on the album and there’s even a borderline catchy moment in title track ‘Promise Everything’ when Andrew Fisher sings “when I’m high I’m high, when I’m low I’m low” in his deep, brooding voice. I’ve always been a fan of Fisher’s blatant lyricism, which remains evidently at its gut-wrenching standard on this record.
Promise Everything shows the band’s maturity, it definitely sounds richer and bolder. However, I can’t help feeling like sometimes the vocals get a little lost amongst the over-distorted guitars and blurry layers of instruments. Though I’m trying my hardest not to compare this record too much with the previous one, it’s proving quite difficult. I can’t help but miss the characterful bass on songs like ‘Covet’ from ‘Colourmeinkindess’. The more I listen to Promise Everything the more it grows on me. But, that’s the thing, it takes a good few listens. I definitely like the album, but it’s not one you immediately sink your teeth into.
I’m glad the band are back and I’m sure fans won’t be disappointed with their latest effort, but in terms of listening preference, I’m still leaning towards an earlier Basement.