Review Summary: Basement are back, perhaps for good.
Rather like the coelacanth, Basement never really disappeared. Though the content of their interviews suggested that Colourmeinkindness
was to be their swansong, the band wasted little time in deciding that they were no longer extinct, allowing us to reclassify them as endangered instead. The young bucks of Basement have never kept their intentions a secret, and their approach to making music has always been a sensible one. After their 2012 release it seemed a certainty that the members were each set to stoically suffer the rigours of modern life in their own way, be it by going back to college or by beginning their training for solid, lengthy careers. The sustainability of their existence has always fought against their joy of making music together, and their periods of activity may always prove to be frustratingly intermittent. However, the speed with which they announced their return suggests that they’ll continue to walk the tightrope for as long as they possibly can. The allure of playing to sweaty crowds in different cities every night might just be winning the battle against the textbooks and desk jobs that working life has to offer.
sees Basement ditch the emo flavoured grunge of Colourmeinkindness
for a catchier, more positive alternative rock sound. It suits the band well, and leading the change is vocalist Andrew Fisher. Throughout Basement’s career Fisher’s tone has always mirrored the brashness of the guitar work underneath, and with the distortion at an all time low, he’s adopted a surprisingly approachable tone. The borderline shouting and slurring which characterised their earlier works (‘Whole,’ ‘Covet’) has been mostly replaced by a softer, more pronounced delivery. Combined with the slightly cleaner guitar lines, it proves to be refreshing, and the package is only sweetened by the increasing reliance on major chords and arpeggios. Though the atmosphere falls short of being jovial, there is a quiet air of contentment which pervades the entire E.P. Each of the three songs carries the new theme comfortably, almost as if the band has never sounded any different.
Every release in Basement’s career so far has seen a subtle evolution from the last, and there’s no guarantee that the band’s next full length will have the same characteristics as Further Sky. But if the band is looking to blend work with pleasure to make Basement their full time venture, then it’s a route that they should strongly consider following. Each of the songs has more than enough depth to appease their existing fan base, while also containing a new sense of accessibility which could snare some new listeners too. The chorus of final track ‘Animal Nitrate’ sees them prioritise melody above all else, and it’s the closest the band has come to writing a radio-friendly rock song. Continue down this road and not only is there the potential for meaningful airtime, but there’s also a chance that one day, Basement might just become their day jobs.