When Basement announced their hiatus in 2012, hearts shattered all around the world. But in 2014, the Ipswich quintet came back together, and those hearts were mended again. It’s exactly the type of emotional rollercoaster that one of Basement’s albums takes you through, and two years to the day after that “hi” tweet that brought back one of modern emo’s shining lights, they released third album Promise Everything, and the wait is finally over for fans.
Promise Everything is definitely not going to let existing Basement listeners down. There’s still the balance between mellow and angsty as seen on previous efforts I Wish I Could Stay Here and Colourmeinkindness, but there still seems to be a calmness at the core of most tracks. This is largely down to Andrew Fisher’s stunning vocals – they’re soft and less gritty than shown earlier in the band’s career (although his rasp does come through every once in a while), but simply beautiful. Lead single Aquasun is on a whole new level, with the gorgeous soaring chorus making it some of Basement’s best work to date.
The discordance which is so prominent in Basement’s sound hasn’t gone away in the four years, either. The tranquillity of Fisher’s voice complements Alex Henery and Ronan Crix’s jarring, edgier guitars, and when they’re working together it’s pure magic. But contrast between the two parties is no negative. In fact, both coming together and contrasting alternate on Promise Everything, often on the same song. Oversized is a good example, with silky smooth segments flowing effortlessly into heavier ones. But the vocals being so serene doesn’t mean there are no full-on rock songs here, with the title track and the brilliant Blinded Bye sharpening the album’s edge. Despite the different vibes present, they all seem to be connected by a beautifully mellow vein that makes every track seem relaxing, whether this was intended by the band themselves or not.
But on the other side of the coin, this album can be so mellow that it goes absolutely nowhere. Closer Halo doesn’t quite hit the heights of its counterparts and is probably the only track that can truly be classed as boring. Songs like Brother’s Keeper and Submission’s melodies do not shine as much as the likes of the stunning Lose Your Grip, so it’s admittedly easy to lose interest a little bit. And there are times where the transition between smooth and discordant is a bit too obvious, such as Aquasun, which goes off on a tangent near the end. If the rest of the song wasn’t so utterly faultless it could be grounds to skim over it, but thankfully the two sections blend together just enough to make it work as a whole.
Promise Everything is just what Basement need at this point in their career – a strong record, possibly even their best to date. It’s more than enough to keep fans happy, make old fans reinvest, and earn some new ones along the way. Basement may have somewhat of a cult following at the moment, but now they’re back with this album, that fanbase is surely about to get a lot bigger.
For fans of: Citizen, Title Fight, Turnover
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Promise Everything’ by Basement is out now on Run For Cover Records.