Review Summary: While not immediately gripping, Basement’s debut LP is a beautiful and aggressive addition to modern emo and punk.
It was announced one year ago that Basement would be joining the already impressive roster of Run for Cover Records, currently stacked with up-and-coming punk artists. This one year has been crucial for the band, as they released a two song EP (ingeniously titled Two Songs
) that showcased a slight departure from their pop punk roots (see their first EP, Songs About the Weather
), and a tendency toward a slower, more emo driven sound. The band went on multiple tours in their UK homeland this year, and then flew overseas for their first US tour with Daylight. A busy year indeed, and of course, they also released this gem of a debut record titled, I Wish I Could Stay Here
, which proved the band was capable of much more than cranking out a few solid EPs.
The sound on I Wish I Could Stay Here
is consistent with the tracks from the Two Songs
EP. These two tracks, Plan to Be Surprised
and Every Single Word
(both rerecorded and included on this album) are hard-hitting and catchy, while also persistent and desperate sounding, and that can be said for the rest of the record as well. There are fast paced moments and slower, more controlled sections on the album, and Basement knows how to dynamically switch between the two. The first track, Fading
is a perfect example of this, as it begins with an upbeat octave chord intro, then slows into the first verse, momentarily devoid of any guitar at all, as vocalist Andrew Fisher sings ”Rain falls hard, washes me away, I feel sick.”
The use of effective changes in intensity and/or tempo throughout the album keeps it fresh throughout, and ensures that no two songs sound too alike. The fifth track, Earl Grey
, begins as a beautiful and relaxed emo track, then explodes after a minute into the fastest punk song on the album, then again
slows into a chugging, then bleeding guitar riff, over which Fisher yells ” You made the best impression: Perfection on the page. The wildest of hearts will never be tamed.”
The variation Basement displays throughout this one track alone, obviously without straying from their original sound, is what sets them apart from other emo and punk contemporaries; no monotony here.
The lyrics on the album mainly deal with feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, and heartache, and while these topics have without a doubt been covered before, Fisher’s lyrics tend to stray from the path a bit and offer some new ideas. Though the lyrics may not appeal to everyone, they are undeniably heartfelt and personal, and they compliment Fisher’s vocal melodies well. Lyrically, Yoke
is the stand out track on the album, and the lyrics are as follows:
Gasping for air, choking on my indecision. Hide me in my room and forget me. I'm sorry, if you want to know the truth. This is me against the world. Is my mother happy? Is my father proud? Hide me in my room, but forgive me.
For one to truly appreciate I Wish I Could Stay Here
, he may need to listen to the album several times to fully understand it, but repeated listens will certainly help to reveal the special qualities that can be found on this album. Given the appropriate attention and listening time, Basement’s debut LP will absorb the listener and make them wish that there were more than just ten tracks.