Review Summary: An ode to the ghost of grunge past.
Barring a timely occurrence of the Lazarus effect, Basement is dead. ‘Colourmeinkindness’ is the swansong and final chapter from a band who loved what they did, loved it even more that you listened, and cherished every moment of their remarkably short journey. Whether you care to label them emo, grunge, or pop punk; or even care to label them at all, the proficiency and congruency with which Basement hone their craft on their second and final album is nothing short of brilliant.
Shades of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Sunny Day Real Estate are noticeable throughout, and as such comparisons are inevitable. Album highlight ‘Covet’ features a chorus that would have been positively snug had it lodged itself anywhere on Sunny Day Real Estate’s ‘Diary’. Featuring a typically low, distorted main riff that ambles rather than strides and a nonchalant vocal delivery that complements a morose chorus, ‘Covet’ is but one of the many tracks that demonstrates the tight, abrasive sound that Basement consistently creates. ‘Bad Apple’ is an acerbic metaphor for relationships gone by, featuring a heavy rhythm section and powerful drumming that is built upon by unambiguous lyrics; “I never learnt to truly burn, Bridges made in darker days”. Whilst album opener ‘Whole’ and third track ‘Spoiled’ deliver grunge inspired lead guitar lines and energetic choruses that recall and pay homage to Seattle’s finest at their 90’s peaks.
Rather than seeking to drive the songs forward, lead vocalist Andrew Fisher largely adopts a contemplative tone that merges well with the rough instrumentation that accompanies him. ‘Control’ sees Fisher practically whisper; “Fear, swallow me whole/Life, help me take control” repeatedly, against a foreboding backdrop in one of the album’s more atmospherically and lyrically perturbed efforts. The ballad-esque ‘Breathe’ sees a continuation of this delivery, only on a more ambitious and grand scale, clocking in at over five minutes as the album’s longest effort. Energy however, is delivered as and when required. Propelling the ending of ‘Spoiled’ into frenzy, Fisher almost screams “I keep on giving up!” in a reflection of misgivings and shortcomings that only love can evoke.
Album closer ‘Wish’ encapsulates all that shines about ‘Colourmeinkindness’. Opening with a soaring riff and a customarily powerful and interesting drumbeat, it ebbs and flows before descending into an excellent bridge and an even better chorus. Leaving us tantalisingly on the edge of our sonic seats, lines such as “Please can you stay a while” unwittingly reflect the thoughts of many a listener, who, at finale of their second album, will most certainly wish that it wasn’t their last.