Basement ‘Beside Myself’

This is the kind of album that has been missing from the alt-rock world over the past few years. It rocks hard, but also has intelligent lyrics that will be poured over by the tastemakers
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Channeling the melancholic lyricism of ‘Clarity’ era Jimmy Eat World, combining it with the hooks of the ‘Chase This Light’ era, and giving it a grungy/indie sheen, Basement are truly onto a winner with this record.

Opening track ‘Disconnect’ is an emo revival banger. A catchy, upbeat indie number; it sets the mood for the album brilliantly. It’s clear that Basement have set their eyes on something bigger on ‘Beside Myself’.

Leaving behind the dark of the Run for Cover set, Fuelled by Ramen have definitely helped Basement emerge into the light. There are hooks to spare on this record. This is still a cool band, but they’re not too fussed about being exclusive. Tracks like ‘Disconnect’ and ‘New Coast’ will have diehard indie kids moshing for days, while ‘Right Here’ and ‘Be Here Now’ will also entice in the pop-punk crowd, newly enamoured with the recent work of Boston Manor, Microwave and Citizen.

This is the kind of album that has been missing from the alt-rock world over the past few years. It rocks hard, but also has intelligent lyrics that will be poured over by the tastemakers. Quite simply, it’s a fun alternative record that deserves to be taken seriously. There’s something here for everyone, from fans of Jimmy Eat World-esque emo, through the alternative mobs, hanging on the Foo’s every lyric, right through to the post-hardcore set, looking for something to believe in since the demise of Balance and Composure.

‘Keepsake’ in particular is a spectacular track. The chorus runs through some emo lyrical tropes ‘Can you put me in your pocket? Let me be your lucky charm’ but it’s delivered so genuinely, you can’t help but believe it. This is quintessential emo-revival, and is very much reminiscent of when the Midwestern scene burst out of the basements (pardon the pun!) at the turn of the millennium.

Similarly, ‘Be Here Now’, a lament to better times being behind you, and being unable to live in the moment is a brilliant serving of solipsism. While the lyrics may be melancholic, there is a universality to this track that makes it relatable, rather than depressing. This is emo done right.

One of the more noticeable trends in pop-punk/emo music over the last 12 months is the increased production going into records. Guitars sound synthesized; bass and drums feel pre-programmed, and for the worst offenders, the vocals sound auto tuned beyond recognition. ‘Beside Myself’ is a refreshing buck to this trend, as the band stick to the tried and tested formula of two guitars, drums, bass and vocals. It’s an organic approach, presumably instilled in them as an indie band, which has clearly paid dividends. This is somewhat surprising, given Fuelled by Ramen’s penchant for electronic effects, and heavily produced music.

In years past this would be an album of the year contender on Kerrang! and MTV2. It has the same crossover appeal that bands from The Vines, to Taking Back Sunday would’ve had a decade or so ago. It’s too early to say whether this will be the album that saves this brand of alternative guitar music, but it could well be the point where the decline in quality and quantity is reversed.

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