Review Summary: I've lost all my sense of time.
I love sadness. I love the fact that I am able to be sad from time to time. At risk of sounding like an edgy teenager, the ‘darkness’ of sadness (not depression) attracts me. There is something oddly comforting about spending an evening crying for no apparent reason, accompanied by music that does very little to lift the mood. Some bold claim like ‘it makes me feel human’ would make me sound more interesting than I am; simply put, sadness is mainly appreciated in retrospect. The realisation that you are feeling ‘okay’ or ‘happy’ holds so much more weight and meaning knowing that this is not a permanent thing.
On Beside Myself
, Basement have captured a sound that, despite its relatively upbeat and catchy nature, invites the listener to explore a darker and somewhat confused and lost side of the band. The confused nature of the record presents itself on the magnificent opener ‘Disconnect’, as vocalist Andrew Fisher asks the listener a lot of questions. Can he go back to where he started? Can you help him out? While it’s easy to dismiss such lyrics as standard fare white-guy-is-sad ramblings, both the simplistic nature of the words and Fisher’s delivery make the track feel extremely genuine. While sadness has been glamorised a lot in music as of recently, Basement is not interested in making it out to be something it’s not. It’s simply a part of life, and it’s a real, normal thing.
picks up where the band left off on previous effort Promise Everything
and raises the bar in every way. ‘Ultraviolet’ proves this with its chilling lyrics reflecting on the events of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge in 2017. Set to intricate drums, guitars and basslines brilliantly playing off each other, the bridge paints a clear picture: “Bodies danced to the sound of screams and broken glass”
. There is something eerily refreshing about the simplistic effectiveness of these instrumentals and lyrics. Everything feels extremely bare and pure, like the band has nothing to hide: no tricks, just the music, passion and pain. The song does not feel like it deals with a massive tragedy: it feels like someone dealing with a massive tragedy from a very human perspective.
Never losing steam, the album easily makes its way through twelve tracks without ever presenting filler. Every song differentiates itself enough from its predecessor without depriving Beside Myself
’s cohesion, with semi-interlude ‘Changing Lanes’ adding a nice acoustic touch. It brilliantly precedes album highlight ‘Stigmata’, increasing the impact of the latter song’s massive intro. ‘Stigmata’ is a notably darker affair, with its chorus featuring an intriguing harmony stating that ‘It feels like / We’re falling in the dark’
, perfectly capturing the captivating nature of, as Fisher stated, ‘feeling incredibly low without any particular reason’.
Throughout the record, Basement have found an impressive balance. The album features enough engaging and memorable instrumentation to keep listeners interested for the full runtime, without ever sounding overly complex or indulgent. Forming the perfect screen for Fisher’s words and outstanding vocals to be projected on, Beside Myself
is the band’s most authentic work to date. In spite of now being signed to a label known for having bands turn into shells of their former selves, Basement stay true to their sound while improving on all aspects of their craft. Subtle experimentation in slightly heavier songs like ‘Reason For Breathing’ depicts the album shifting to a darker, more dynamic side the band has never shown before.
A lot can be said about Beside Myself
. Every track is worth a mention, but the overall feel of the album is what makes it a truly special release. The record is authentic; every riff, every fill, every lyric feels like it belongs. While the album raises more questions than answers, the bridge of ‘Disconnect’ finds Fisher concluding he has lost his sense of time. It’s what sadness does to someone. It’s not beautiful, it’s not awful.. it just is what it is.