BY DREW LACOUTURE
After a two year hiatus, Basement returns to Run for Cover Records with an explosive yet catchy comeback that is guaranteed to dismiss anybody’s doubts of the English band being one of the best among their punk-rock contemporaries.
With every release, it seems Basement has progressed as a better group and “Promise Everything” continues this track record with great song compositions, killer production and a nearly perfect blend of pop-punk, emo and melodic hardcore.
Lyrically this album is more subtle and is even darker than “colourmeinkindness.” They speak of past love and disappointment like any other emo band, but in a much more convincing way.
The lyrics after the instrumental break on the title track “Promise Everything” (“feeling like a child/tremble in the night/I love you but you try/to kill me every time”) are almost chilling. “Losing Your Grip also provides some depressing content with “I hope when I am reborn/there are knives where should be arms.”
These are Andrew Fisher’s cleanest vocal performances and his singing help drive the lyrics home.
The track “Submissions” is the standout song from him. There have been countless comparisons to him and Title Fight’s Jamie Rhoden, and while it is a fair comparison, Fisher stands out by delivering a balanced vocal style that is pained yet subdue.
Instrumentally this album is every emo-rock beginner’s dream. The guitars and drums are incredibly simple. Perhaps even a little bit too simple. The major flaw with this album is that all the songs start the same way, and some songs sound a little too similar to one another.
Although the only thing that separates “Lose Your Grip” and “Hanging Around” is the latter has a minor chorus rather than having it in major chords which is refreshing and sounds great.
The often monotonous performances can be overlooked because the production on this record is phenomenal. Each individual part comes through crystal clear while still marinating a punk-like sound that fans of the genre can appreciate. These tracks are meant to be listened to on either quality speakers or headphones.
Duncan Stewart really gets to shine because this album is mixed so that bass is often at the same volume as the guitar leads. This helps gives songs like the brilliantly hypnotizing “Oversized” a very dense and weighted sound despite being a mellow track.
Fisher’s vocals on top of the back-up vocals are also perfectly stacked on top of these intense rifts and choruses (“Submission” and “Blinded Eye”). Plus the opener “Brother’s Keeper” has some fantastic transitions, especially the drums filling in the second verse to the chorus.
Without a doubt, the standout track on this record is “Aquasm” with its Jimmy Eat World inspired chorus, and its killer bridge: “And I’ll swim half way/If you swim halfway/Words help me believe/But this is killing me.”
“Promise Everything” is an example of a record that borrows enough from the past, but does not copy and paste from other artists. Their influences are obvious for sure, but the band has a distinct sound and songs like “Halo” help separate them from their contemporaries like Such Gold and Balance and Composure.
Not only is this Basement’s best record, but it has the potential to be an emo-rock classic that like many before it, might establish a huge fan-base over time rather than instantly. The hooks give it endless replay value and even those who may not enjoy music this straightforward will be pulled in by shear sound and production as the first single “Oversized” did for many people.
“Promise Everything” is an excellent comeback record that elevates Basement into emo-rock greatness.
The Flyer gives “Promise Everything” by Basement a 8/10.