[29 July 2014]
England’s Basement made a sound in the early 2010s that is described by AllMusic.com as being “melodic hardcore punk-influenced music that brings to mind a kind of ‘90s DIY sound.” However, after a sophomore disc in 2012 called Colourmeinkindness, and an American tour, the band went on indefinite hiatus. Well, Basement is back, albeit with a three-song, roughly 10-minute EP. It’s notable in that it features two new songs, and, here’s the really notable part, a cover of Suede’s “Animal Nitrate”. Overall, the set is bright and punchy, and really anthemic – and not too punk at all. The Further Sky EP is pretty much straight up rock and roll, and it’s pretty good rock and roll at that. You might not be getting very much bang for your buck here, but the kindest thing you can say about this disc is that there’s not a bad track in the bunch.
“Summer’s Colour”, which opens the EP, is a jangly stab at Britpop – it sounds a bit remotely like the Smiths, at least in its opening guitar chords. It’s quite catchy and gets things off to a good start. And, yet, “Jet”, the follow-up, might be even better. It’s driving in a raise your fist in the air kind of way; it’s crunchy and packed with raw power, with a glint of softness here and there. Don’t laugh, but it sounds a bit Juliana Hatfield-ish in a way. Maybe crossed with a little bit of the Cavedogs for good measure. Then there’s closer “Animal Nitrate”, which strips away all of the glam of the Suede track and renders it as a straightforward rock anthem. I’m not sure if I like this version better than the original – I never really got Suede back in the day, but I was young. Still, it more than holds its own, and it’s nice to hear a band not giving a strict note-for-note cover version. Ideally, the Further Sky EP is a nice taster of things to come for the band, and here’s hoping they can keep it together for another full length album.