Basement Life - Devour (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Basement Life

Devour (2018)


One of the most awesome things about reviewing records is ever so often there's something in your inbox that's absolutely under the radar. And when you sink your fangs into it, it blows you away. What keeps you on your toes also is plowing through other websites to see what's being covered -- and Basement Life is something I stumbled on randomly, and something that's pretty much... well, magical. It took me a while but I then remembered listening to Love Is Not Real last year and thinking it's good but nothing memorable. Well, this follow-up got me to go back and reassess that, and then soak in how strong Devour acts as a sequel. Because if anything, I really pegged them wrong the first time around.

Devour has one of the most interesting sonic landscapes I've heard this year. It's lush post-punk (think Prawn or new age Mogwai, maybe even a bit of Explosions in the Sky) is mixed in with melodic indie rock a la Signals Midwest. Heck, it helps that vocalist Gavan Holden actually sounds like Signal's Max Stern when he's yelling and straining on the mic. Songs like "Live Wild" and "Oct '17" really embody this mix I described, and for good measure you've got some shimmery indie-punk jams you'd expect off of Red Scare on "Devour Me" and "Feed It, Bury It" -- singalong bangers for fans of bands like Arms Aloft and Red City Radio. A few songs do come off a bit repetitive, and honestly, if this record were trimmed around the middle, the impact would be so much more. That said, it still kicks MAJOR ass.

The song which tips the album over the edge though is the closer, a slow burn called "Dear Mother Ghost" which feels like what bands like Lifetime and Mineral would do this day and age. Strongly emo, but with some mainstream college vibes sprinkled across. All in all, Devour is worth more than a few spins, because from romance to life on the road to the struggles as a band, Basement Life illustrates just how we should be making them all work.