Basement – Beside Myself
Released: October 12th, 2018
Andrew Fisher // Lead Vocals
Alex Henery // Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ronan Crix // Guitar
Duncan Stewart // Bass
James Fisher // Drums
Basement‘s first collaboration with producer Colin Brittain (credits include All Time Low, 5 Seconds of Summer and Papa Roach) and sees the band expand further on their melodic, alternative rock sound. Their prolific discography includes 2012’s Colourmeinkindness, a record they released shortly before going on a brief hiatus, which saw their profile grow (despite the band’s inactivity) & 2016’s Promise Everything, which was touched up for a 2017 re-release on the band’s current label Fueled By Ramen. Taking cues from bands such as Jimmy Eat World & Foo Fighters, album opener and lead single ‘Disconnect’ sets the tone for the rest of the record. Dynamically, Beside Myself is Basement at their very best instrumentally.
Maintaining the controlled and even pace of the record so far, Fisher’s melodies are showcased on track 2 ‘Be Here Now’, only assisted by his introspective & relatable lyrics;
“I lost myself in the moment – Why can’t I just be here now?” Channeling aggression seen on earlier efforts, the tight rhythms on ‘Nothing Left’ seem to be influenced in part by hardcore, while still sounding close to a track off Bleed American. With the most melancholy song so far it’s a great contrast to ‘Ultraviolet’. The vulnerable lyrical content of ‘Ultraviolet’ is communicated dynamically again throughout the song, with a punchy and catchy chorus flanked by jangly guitar riffs.
‘Keepsake’ shows a more vulnerable side instrumentally – reflecting frontman Andrew Fisher’s lyrics suggesting alienation & a deep longing for someone, using metaphors like “Put me in your pocket” and “let me be your lucky drug”. Personally, this track was my favorite. Acoustic interlude ‘Changing Lanes’ showcases Andrew’s wonderful voice, as well as the band’s ability to strip back songs with relative ease. Only lasting for around a minute and a half, the song seems to represent moving on from a situation – perhaps even a different attitude for the remainder of the record. ‘Stigmata’ channels prog rock with dark and heavy riffage; each Basement record seems to have a similar moment brought together by the band’s instrumental chemistry. Lyrically, we hear some references to religious imagery and the idea of feeling completely lost
(“I can feel the sickness, Taking over my senses. I’ll give in to darkness, In hopes I can forget”) -a relatable sentiment that won’t be wasted on any of the band’s listeners.
Bouncy cut ‘New Coast’ is a perfect driving tune, melancholy lyrics aside the track keeps a solid pace throughout with a darker guitar tone utilised in the verse before bringing crispy-clean guitars (reminiscent of Pavement) in for an uplifting chorus. ‘Just a Life’ is packed to the brim with open guitar chords and dynamics. From the intro to the verse, we hear a slow-down of tempo, with heavy guitars being cut out replaced by a melodic line. In the pursuit of any listener’s interest and attention, the band’s dedication to their craft is communicated clearly in this one. ‘Slip Away’‘s opening riffage is reminiscent of more 90’s influences (think Nirvana). Employing grunge-reminiscent guitar riffs and dissonant leads leading the track in, the chorus sporting some of the most memorable lyrics of the record. ‘Reason for Breathing’ caught me off-guard with a heavy guitar riff in 5/4 – although the band has hinted at more riff-y influences, this track reminded me of The Used’s earlier material – super influenced by post hardcore/punk acts like Refused. Utilising different time signatures throughout the track, this song stands out as the most experimental of the bunch, with the band truly breaking their own songwriting formula.
Album closer ‘Right Here’ starts with a sentimental guitar riff flanked by muted drums and acoustic guitars, soon to be followed by cello & violins- somewhat predictable for a commercial rock album, but a first for Basement. Much like some of the band’s earlier soft songs, a slower tempo and more reserved vocal performance works well for them with this cut sounding a lot more hopeful than previous efforts. A must-have for any “sad” playlists, ‘Right Here‘ sounds like a love letter full of promises, possibly the most vulnerable and sincere track on the record.
With many fans attached to the band’s previous work, this album should be seen as an individual entry in Basement’s discography – a moment in time caught on record. Notably, the second half of the record sees the band experimenting and expanding on their sound without completely jumping ship. Only complimented by strong sequencing and tasteful production, this record is unique enough to be considered a classic, but familiar enough for any Basement fan to enjoy.
Basement – Beside Myself tracklisting
2. Be Here Now
3. Nothing Left
6. Changing Lanes
8. New Coast
9. Just A Life