Pop-punk, alt-rock, and grunge are more alike than you think. Especially when it comes to the legion of late-2000s // early-2010s bands who were somewhere in the middle of these three seemingly disparate genres. Some, of course, did it better than others – Daylight (well, Superheaven) were a particular highlight with 2013’s Jar, as its authenticity and great songwriting helped elevate it to the top of the scene for a hot minute. Citizen and Balance And Composure, to varying degrees, did it as well. You could name plenty more that excelled in this sort of genre cross-pollination – while some may have only belonged to two of the above genre descriptors, the fact is there were a plethora of bands doing this sort of thing.
To be certain, however, Basement aren’t your ordinary band. Initially breaking up after the release of their 2012 album Colourmeinkindness (and then reuniting for more intriguing material a couple years later), the band’s sophomore album was a big, big hit in the scene. Combining the infectiousness and hooks of pop-punk with a sound that was definitely more in the alt-rock genre, it’s an album that is certainly influenced by grunge at least on some level. In fact at times, it seems like Colourmeinkindness blends all three genres at once at certain points. Album opener “Whole” is a great example of this, as the song is catchy enough to fit the pop-punk or alt-rock genres – yet it’s also a song that’s a microcosm of the album as a whole – built to be anthemic.
Colourmeinkindness is buoyed by a relatively diverse proceedings over its barely 34 minute run time. The album’s ten songs are all tied together through stylistic similarities, yet they also manage to stand out due to key elements within each song. Loud, punchy, grunge-influenced alt-rock bleeds through on “Whole” and “Bad Apple”. Two songs that undoubtedly add energy to the proceedings, the latter’s bassline is ridiculously catchy, while the guitar riffs manage to do so on both. Lyrically, the record runs the typical topics you’d expect from an album of this style. Relationship difficulties? “Covet” and “Bad Apple” fit the bill. Desperation and frustration, where the album’s title is used as the opening lyric? “Spoiled” is there for you, where by the end of the song, vocalist Andrew Fisher feels like he’s on the verge of a breakdown.
Not relying on purely nostalgia but instead a diverse stream of songwriting, Colourmeinkindness also manages a nice balance in the tracklisting. Almost every song with plenty of energy is followed by one that’s just a bit slower. Or vice versa. “Whole” // “Covet” and “Comfort” // “Wish” do this quite adeptly, as the slow tempo of “Comfort” segues right into the slow buildup of “Wish” – the latter being arguably their most grunge-influenced song. “Covet”, possibly Basement’s biggest song to date, showcases just why Basement made a name for themselves early on in their career (and possibly, why they got even bigger after their initial breakup and subsequent reformation). The song’s use of dynamics definitely brings to mind an obvious Pixies influence (seriously, just check the comments on YouTube for the track – we’re not alone here), its droning guitars are likely to put you in a trance. But, you know, in a good way.
On Colourmeinkindness, Basement made an impact where it really matters – the songs. Not content to be only a nostalgia trip to revisit a certain decade or singular influence, the album made a big impression at the time of its 2012 release, and still remains a must-hear classic today. Its blend of a few genres make it difficult to pigeonhole, yet Colourmeinkindness is tied together by a specific trait – memorability.