It’s been a while since I last listened to Basement. I heard about them about a year ago when they released their debut, ‘I Wish I Could Stay Here‘. The album was very well received critically, with many people praising the band’s fresh combination of ‘poppy’ melodic rock with straight-faced hardcore sensibilities. They toured the UK last July with Title Fight, and very recently completed a trip around the US with Dead End Path, Daylight & Soul Search.
In recent weeks, the band announced they would be going into ‘indefinite hiatus’ via their Facebook page. Any fan of post-hardcore will know that this means, “ain’t coming back any time soon”. They cited personal differences as the reason for the split, but they have confirmed that there will be a last show. With the album having released on October 23rd and their final US tour now complete, it seemed like a good time to write about them before the opportunity to see them live disappears forever.
Entitled ‘colourmeinkindness‘, the band’s sophomore effort clearly picks up where ‘I Wish…‘ left off, their trademark guttural sound of tired, melancholy guitars and pitch-perfect vocals welcoming you straight back into their realm. ‘Whole‘, the opening track, takes no time in making their presence known, but in amongst is change; more focused song-writing, the sound of a band fully settled into their groove.
‘Covet‘ is a wonderful song for demonstrating the band’s ability to write haunting melodies. For some reason it always makes me think of ‘Where Is My Mind?‘ when I listen to it, which is both one of the highlights and weaknesses of the album; you can hear influences and inflections in the music referencing so many artists and styles, but sometimes the influence can ring a bit too true. Many critics of the band have referred to them as ‘Title Fight Rip-Offs’, which is a comment that always confused me, but they clearly take influence from all types of music and it has both charms and chinks.
A big part of Basement is, for me, vocalist Andrew Fisher’s lyrics. They have something about them that just doesn’t sound as corny as all the faux-emo thrash bands peddling their crap around at the moment. Simple lines like, “Special, I wish you were special. […] Want me, I need you to want me” lack the poetic pretenses that make so many of these bands sound like Chaucer after 3 bottles of Merlot. The emotive edge lies in the delivery.
Along with their rough and rugged side, Basement have always demonstrated a wonderful melodic side, and it’s nice to see this return in ‘colourmeinkindness‘. The penultimate track, ‘Comfort‘, rolls along with lazy drums and metronomic guitars, and just like ‘Ellipses‘ on ‘I Wish…‘, though you know it’s the perfect length, you can’t help but wish it went on longer. One of my favourite tracks on the album, ‘Pine‘, is a real misnomer in the band’s sound, like a mixture of drivetime Americana and Fugazi-esque discord that seems to combine so well. The chorus is an excellent example of good songwriting that transcends its genre; do you want to write great hardcore songs, or do you want to write great songs?
‘colourmeinkindness‘ is available right now in various formats. If you visit the Run For Cover Records Bandcamp, you can download a digital copy of the album right now for a measly $5. They also have Gatefold Vinyl LPs available in various limited colours for $15 and CDs for $8. Purchasing either physical copy also entitles you to an instant download of the album in the format of your choice. For the more obsessive music fan, Banquet Records also have a UK-exclusive Blood Red vinyl copy available that is limited to just 300.
In conclusion, this album will not do too much to surprise any old Basement fans. The melody is still there, Andrew’s voice is still siren-esque as ever, and the heavy bits still make you want to kick a fucking door in and scream. The elements that made people either love or hate the band will do exactly that, again. What this just might do, however, is cement the band as one of the UK’s most eloquent and expressive hardcore bands in recent years, and I really hope people will remember them and get them to come back soon. 7/10