Review: Basement, ‘Promise Everything’
Written by Joel Funk Edited by Caitlin Kohn
It feels cheap to harp on the fact that Basement has such deep-seeded roots in the grunge movement of the early 90’s. That was a sentiment for their last effort, ‘Colourmeinkindness,’ which came as quite the departure from ‘I Wish I Could Stay Here.’ With only a year between each release, Basement transformed from the post-hardcore caterpillar fans were familiar with into this beautifully constructed, high-flying butterfly of alternative rock. The change in sonic output felt more like a statement than anything else. With that release, it became clear that Basement wanted to make something that those outside of the scene that made them, could easily latch on to. They wanted to make something that they could be remembered for.
A brief leave of absence followed, and we were given ‘Further Sky’ in the summer of 2014. That release felt like the promise of something even bigger than ‘Colourmeinkindness’ and now that they’re armed with ten incredible new songs, Basement are poised to shatter whatever ceiling they’ve created. ‘Promise Everything’ is their third full-length release, their first since reuniting, and easily the most promising output from the Ipswich quintet.
These songs roar from start to finish, only stopping to catch their breath once around the halfway mark. “Brother’s Keeper” brings the album to a start with an earworm of a chorus that eventually gives way to a bridge that showcases some of Andrew Fisher’s best vocal work to date. It’s the kind of song that assures you that the members of Basement would be living in Mansions and enjoying the lap of luxury had this album been released twenty years ago. They’ve managed to do something more than pull from the artists that influenced them. They’ve managed to become their peers, at least in terms of qualitative content.
While the album as a whole is an easy and incredibly satisfying listen, some of these songs are more immediately memorable than others. For instance, the riff that brings “Aquasun” to a start has been stuck in my head since it first graced my headphones. I continue to come back to it just for that riff. It may only be the first five seconds, but it’s a sweet five seconds. And while it may come across as the opposite side of the same coin, “Oversized” stands out for being the slowed and dreamy track that drives us from side a to side b.
The second half of ‘Promise Everything’ comes into full swing with “Blinded Eye.” It’s not hard to imagine that this is the song that would have catapulted Basement into the world of rock stardom. For some reason, I keep getting “She Hates Me” vibes from the track (this is a safe space, you don’t have to pretend to hate Puddle of Mudd here). It’s got nothing to do with the lyrical content, so there’s no real need to fret. The point is that this track would have been a huge success. From this point on, the record follows suit in terms of marketable tracks. Especially with the title track.
“Promise Everything” is without a doubt the catchiest song on the record. The chorus is a simple refrain of “When I’m high/I’m high/When I’m low/I’m low/Hot or cold/It’s going to show” and it’s simplicity is what eventually finds it ingrained into your head. It’s driving and melodic; simple and accessible. It was a perfect single, and the perfect song to introduce us to the record with.
Basement are at the top of their game, and more aptly, the top of their genre. Every song on ‘Promise Everything’ is better than the last, and each of them further the idea that Basement should be the biggest rock band in the world right now. It’s hard to imagine them topping this release, but I found myself saying the same thing in 2013. If Basement continues to grow at the rate they have between releases, it’s only a matter of time before we see them selling out arenas. Who needs the nu-metal revival (*cough* Bring Me The Horizon *cough*) when you’ve got this level of bliss, right?