Basement - Promise Everything (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Basement

Promise Everything (2016)

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Colourmeinkindness was a fucking ripper. In fact, it was one of 2012's best records, which made it even more bittersweet when Basement announced their hiatus. With a cult following more vocal than ever, come 2014, they'd return with the Further Sky EP, which back then seemed like a step off the pace. From listening to Promise Everything though, it's now apparent that that EP was a bridge for a transition into something less aggressive, less grungy and more melodic. This new record, while still  very much in the '90s era of things as we're accustomed to with these Brit-rockers, doesn't give the same rush as 2012 but nonetheless, it's still patient and very much methodical when stacked up in their catalog. Does it give the same effect of tracks from a couple years ago like "Covet"? Not really but it's still worth a go. 

This record is their most radio-friendly to date with nods to so many bands like Far, Failure, Hum as well as shades of more prominent names such as Silverchair, STP, Breaking Benjamin and Incubus. Sam Pura's  clean/slick/crisp production really strips their sound down, removing most elements we're familiar with - diminished distortion, less reverb - and helps build on their foundation of crunchy guitars, melodic rhythms and overall, a more upbeat and accessible alt. rock vibe. "Aquasun" and "Blinded Bye" are prime examples of this, displaying a sharp contrast to their muddy sound of old and are undoubtedly songs that would have shot them into the limelight in the MTV/VH1 era of 1995-2001. I expected them initially to take the emo/shoegaze twist that former grunge contemporaries such as Title Fight, Citizen, Superheaven, Run Forever and Turnover took recently but I'm glad that they didn't make too drastic a shift. A few songs stick to their old formula such as "Promise Everything", which refuels how much I compared them to Balance and Composure. Note, this track's bassline really shows how underrated Duncan Stewart's work is in the band. 

"Oversized" is another song worth noting as it shows how polished vocalist Andrew Fisher is on the album. It feels like homage to Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Porcelain" in its lack of urgency and melody, which you also find on the odd closer in "Halo". Both songs show how risky and unafraid Basement have gotten but most of all, they show that they're consistent in exploring and growing, without really forcing that agents of change feel. Promise Everything isn't as dominant or commanding as the band's presence in 2012 but over three years later, it's safe to say it's an essential touchstone if you're detailing Basement's evolution.