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Album Review: Basement - 'I Wish I Could Stay Here'

29 September 2011 | 1:44 am | Staff Writer

Bound to be one of the best albums released this year.

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UK outfit Basement turned heads with the release of their fantastic “Songs About The Weather” 7” last year, which led to their signing with Boston’s Run For Cover Records, one of the most consistent upcoming labels of the last few years, and now the band has unleashed their debut album “I Wish I Could Stay Here” onto the world, which is set to take them even further than many would have expected.

One of the most immediate things you will notice is the cleaner and improved vocals from front man Andrew Fisher, as first heard in the opening track “Fading”, which may catch you off guard the first time you hear it. The track sets the blueprint for the rest of the album to come, showing off what the band has on offer through the next 9 tracks. The demo version of “Plan To Be Surprised” was first released on the band’s “Two Songs” tape, and the final product doesn’t differ too much from that, just the recording and production is of much higher quality. The third track “Canada Square” is where the band starts to show off the direction they are heading in. From the slower, more melodic and cleaner sounding intro, to Fisher’s clean sung vocals, the band shows that they have a few tricks up their sleeve in terms of their songwriting. Comparisons will be drawn to the vocals of Jamie Rhoden in Title Fight’s latest material, but the English accent that shines through on Fisher’s vocals are enough to differentiate the two.

I first heard “Crickets Throw Their Voice” when watching the video of the band’s set at the TDON 6 festival late last year, and I immediately replayed it multiple times. This built my excitement to hear the recorded version of the song, and it didn’t let me down, at all. This is the best song on the album, and the one that you will remember once you have finished listening to the record. The combination of the vocals of Fisher and guitarist Alex Henery are at their strongest during this track, which add to the catchiness and memorability of the song. “Earl Grey”, while also being a fantastic cup of tea, is another one of the strong points on the record. Fisher’s vocals are warm and enticing during the slow and subtle introduction, before the pace is picked up by drummer James Fisher, who relentlessly pounds away throughout the rest of the track. The instrumental midpoint of the record, “Ellipses”, is where the band’s 90’s emo influence is out on display, with the track often showing shades of the likes of Mineral. The other track re-recorded from the band’s “Two Songs” tape, “Every Single Word”, sans the introduction heard on the previous version, will draw you in and have you nodding your head, with the following track “Yoke” also creating a similar effect, while also providing one of the catchiest lines of the record, in “this is me against the world”.

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Grayscale” was the first track released to the public from the album, and it’s not hard to see why. The track does a good job of blending in the band’s sound from their previous releases, as well as hinting at what the rest of the album could store. The final track “March” shows once again the band’s penchant for the 90’s, with the track even showing shades of Nirvana at times (listen to it and you’ll hear it). While it might not be the most captivating track on the record, its slight dissimilarity to the other tracks makes it stand out and ends the record on a high note.

“I Wish I Could Stay Here” does not sound like a debut album, this sounds like the work of a band who have been making music together for many years now. If this is what the band can achieve in a relatively short time, I am beyond excited to hear what they will produce next. This will be one of the best albums released this year, and I recommend you check it out immediately if you haven’t done so already.

1. Fading

2. Plan To Be Surprised

3. Canda Square

4. Crickets Throw Their Voice

5. Earl Grey

6. Ellipses

7. Every Single Word

8. Yoke

9. Grayscale

10. March