Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Basement ~ I Wish I Could Stay Here

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: British, punk, alt rock
Label: Run For Cover Records
Year: 2011
Home: Great Britain

Members: Andrew Fisher ~ vocals
Alex Henry ~ guitar/b. vocals
James Fisher ~ drums
Duncan Stewart ~ bass
Ronan Crix ~ guitar


The first full length release by British quintet Basement, followed by the band's first American tour, is a somber walk through life. They give the mood away immediately by opening the album with Cary Grant saying "Now is probably my last chance", Audrey Hepburn responding "Mine too", only to get back "It's now or never". It's an interesting introduction on any record but to then have the ears hit with contemporary punk slashing guitars, think Green Day not Sex Pistols for a definition of modern punk, with the song "Fading" it's a bit disconcerning. With the lyrics being "Rain falls hard, washes me away. I feel sick./I feel sick, so empty, so ordinary./In my head I heard you call my name./I’m breaking down I’m fading./& everything I had will fall apart./Nothing stays the same" ... well, disconcerning is the name of the game for Basement. Loneliness & despair are prevalent lyrical themes with a bit of heartbreak thrown in. It is indeed a cold basement for the lads. Without doubt this is definetly the words of youth already carrying all of life's woes & a few more on the side. You actually worry a bit about the songwriter as the album goes on. Is he alright? Does he need a hug? But, it's hard not to wonder if this is the best subject choice to have dominate all ten tracks, particularly on the band's first full length release. But, this is not music for middle aged adults. It's modern punk for a young & modern crowd that shares the same angst & issues as those who will buy the album. It's music for the next generation. & like every generation that comes of age you can't escape loneliness, despair, worry & a broken heart & thus in a wierd way the cold basement becomes a warm blanket & cup of hot chocolate. It should be noted that the heavy handed theme of depression gives the music far more personality than would be there otherwise. The music & singing isn't anything necessarily out of the ordinary for this genre nor matching the lyrics in moodiness beyond a few moments when the guitars pull back (i.e. "Canada Square", "Earl Grey", "Yoke", "March", "Greyscale") ... which could be done a lot more often to great effect, let alone give the band some more musical depth. What is potentially a detriment actually lifts the band up giving them a personality & when they do take some softer moments it shows off a lot more talent & creativity than the slashing guitar moments. The one soft instrumental "Elipses", that divides the album, is proof of what they can do. Also, the lyrics are incredibly short. It's hard to say if this is good or bad. The excerpt from "Fading" is a less an excerpt but the whole song that gets repeated with no choruses or anything in what can only be described as a little prose poem. My high school English teacher used to always tell me to flesh things out, while a famed New York playwright told me years later to flesh my characters out so much they become naked. I'm going to pass that advice on to the boys sitting hurt in the cold basement. Now that you're alone write another verse or two. The prose approach is interesting. You don't need a chorus or any of the standard song-writing structures & I applaud the untraditional lyrical style ... but just give me more. Dig into your sad soul & pour it on me. I can take it.







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