Ipswitch rockers hone their emotive, anthemic edge even further on their comeback LP.
Having returned from self-imposed exile last year, UK throwback-rockers Basement were apparently determined not to miss a step, releasing the Further Sky EP and sequestering themselves with longtime producer Sam Pura to craft a new full-length. The result is Promise Everything, their third LP and easily their most cohesive.
On their sophomore effort, Colourmeinkindness, Basement demonstrated their affinity for guitar-heavy melodic hardcore muscle, with effortlessly memorable hooks and soul-searching lyrics that rang in fans' ears long after the band declared their subsequent hiatus. Now that record has had four years to stew, accumulating new admirers and a near cult status. Its successor draws from largely the same well, serving up another ten tracks bursting with passion and energy. The album's brevity works very much in its favour, keeping the whole experience concise and not sacrificing quality for pointless quantity. The songs themselves eschew high-minded pretension or indeed any sense of self-indulgence, and though working from the same blueprint as Colourmeinkindness, they're for the most part, better.
The influence of '90s grunge and emo continues to show here. Songs like "Submission" and "Lose Your Grip" are driven by their crunchy guitar power, while "Aquasun" lets layered vocals take centre stage on the album's most memorable and powerful chorus. Basement aren't alt-rock meatheads, though, and the aggressive assault lets up for the melancholy "Oversized" and the closing track "Halo". Vocalist Andrew Fisher's powerful croon is expertly placed in the mix throughout, another tool in Basement's melodic arsenal rather than its defining feature. Promise Everything could have benefited from a little more variety in its tempo, as the heavier tracks become a little predictable as the album progresses, but the runtime stops them from drowning each other out.
As a band, Basement are a powerhouse. They seem to draw energy from one another in a way that never stops being thrilling, from axeman Alex Henery's humungous riffs to the adrenaline-fueled rhythm section. Though it doesn't add much new to the established Basement canon, Promise Everything is tight, fresh and exhilarating. They're back, they're hungry, and they're pretty keen to let you know.