Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 21/4
Written by: AP on 14/02/2016 01:06:50
When Basement released their sophomore outing ”colourmeinkindness” in 2012, it was met with ambivalence. It was a ripping album, one which placed the Ipswich, United Kingdom -based emo / punk rock quintet on the map, but at the same time, it announced their indefinite hiatus from it, bringing closure on a career much too short lived. The good news is that Basement’s absence from the scene was also short lived, born out of necessity as vocalist Andrew Fisher desired to complete his teacher’s qualification, and amounting to less than two years until the summer of 2014, when the band resumed its activities by releasing a three-song EP dubbed “A Further Sky” and assured us that writing for their third studio album was already underway. That effort materialised last month in the form of “Promise Everything”, and sees Basement return in invigorating style.
Indeed, choosing that specific word to encapsulate the spirit of the album is the result of careful deliberation, as despite its melancholy undercurrent, “Promise Everything” is a cathartic, life-affirming piece of music which thrives on warmth, relatable lyricism, and overflowing hooks. Although the record lags behind its predecessor somewhat in terms of depth, it makes up for the lost ground by being more readily accessible. Regardless of which song you cue, the music sounds inviting and tends to weave itself into the fabric of your memory with remarkable ease. You will be parroting choruses like ”I know, I know, I know, I wrote this. I will not be pushed around. And so, and so, and so, I hope this makes you feel less overwhelmed” from “Lose Your Grip” and ”Dive into me, dive into me. I’ll meet you underwater there, sometime. So say the words before you leave, tear my heart off my sleeve, and tell me you believe in me” from the balladic “Aquasun” in no time, revelling in Basement’s knack for fusing the personality of emo with the energy of punk rock. The instrumentation is at once fuzzy and carefree, almost grungy, and retains an anthemic, larger-than-life quality.
Indeed, the hiatus seems to have coincided with a maturing process, with the focus shifting away from the heavy and angular jaunts of old, and toward delivering memorabilia constantly, and consistently via thoughtful songwriting. The trademark angst is still present, but there is a deft counterbalance from soaring optimism in songs like the already mentioned “Aquasun” that makes “Promise Everything” so animated, such an exhilarating listen. The album has the odd track suffering from anonymity, but by and large, whether you are grooving to the uptempo tune of “Submission” or defiantly singing ”I want to be the only one buried in green under a sun” along to “Blinded Bye”, the record is bursting with choice cuts ready to become the definitive punk anthems of 2016. And despite the relatively short runtime, it packs sufficient variety by sometimes foraging into shoegaze (in “Oversized” and “Halo”), and more generally by virtue of sequencing the faster and slower tracks for maximum effect. It just works.
“Promise Everything” may not be as groundbreaking as its predecessor but it is quicker to engage the listener, and feels much more sympathetic to their emotions. There is a sense of delicacy to the music which interacts brilliantly with the band’s heavier outbursts, resulting in songs that feel subtle, yet liberating; intense, but never ruthless. So gather your friends who grew up with emo and punk — “Promise Everything” provides the perfect soundtrack for your reminiscing.
Download: Hanging Around, Lose Your Grip, Aquasun, Blinded Bye, Promise Everything
For the fans of: Citizen, Daylight, Title Fight, Turnover
Release date 29.01.2016
Run for Cover Records