Darlings of the British rock underground, for years Basement thrived on the fuzz and flannel of grunge revivalism; debut album ‘I Wish I Could Stay Here’ and 2012 follow-up ‘Colourmeinkindness’ harked back to the nineties like the wardrobes of oh-so-many art students. It’s an albatross that’s followed them through brief hiatus and reunion, their rose-tinted, sepia-toned take on alt-rock finding favour with crowds on both sides of the Atlantic, though never really breaking free of comparison to decades gone by. With major label debut ‘Beside Myself’, however, the Ipswich-via-USA rockers have flipped their approach, finding solid ground in the present day.
No part of ‘Beside Myself’ can be saddled with a prefix – this is a straight-up rock record from beginning to end. From opener, lead single and song-of-the-year-contender ‘Disconnect’’s soaring, stadium-sized chorus, through to the brooding atmospherics of acoustic number ‘Changing Lanes’ and ‘Stigmata’, it’s a no-frills plug-in-and-go guitar album like we’ve not seen since Jimmy Eat World’s breakthrough. There’s even a song called ‘Be Here Now’ on there – a brave statement that would fall flat at the feet of the brothers Gallagher, were it not so bloody anthemic.
Throughout, that penchant for rose-tinted revivalism comes into singer Andrew Fisher’s crosshairs time and time again – a feeling of alienation and the sense of self his most frequent muse. “I lost myself in the moment / Why can’t I just be here now?” he sings on that aforementioned Oasis-nod, while the Cali sunshine of ‘New Coast’ finds him longing for contentment. Ironically, it’s in that existential tug-of-war between past and future, memories and wishes, that Basement make their most assured, grounded statement to date.
In the time between last record ‘Promise Everything’ and ‘Beside Myself’, almost all of Basement’s membership have upped roots and decamped to separate corners of the States. It’s a move that imbues their fourth LP with a sense of adventure and emotional impermanence – but also one that sees them dust off their gloomy British exterior in favour of something altogether more dazzling. ‘Beside Myself’ is evidence that Basement are on track to be Britain’s next truly great rock band – regardless of geographical location.
- Record label: Fuelled By Ramen
- Release date: October 12, 2018