Though the UK emo scene has enjoyed a proliferation of sorts since, when Ipswich's Basement announced they were calling it a day in 2012 the news was received with heavy hearts. Fortunately however, bands rarely split up forever these days, and while it might be easy to view such such reformations with scepticism (The Libertines anyone?) Basement weren't exactly in a position to cash in by doing so.
As such, Promise Everything is as genuine and as sincere a comeback album as one might hope for. Built around a dichotomy of lush melodies and brooding angst, its restrained in its aggression, suggesting both the maturity and melody hinted at on 2014's Further Sky has been fully realised.
That being said, it wouldn't be a Basement record without a certain degree of angst. 'Submission', and to a lesser extent 'Promise Everything' are the album's heaviest moments; the former a propulsive and angular post-hardcore jaunt, the latter steadily mounting, dripping with disaffection. However, even these weightier cuts aren't without melody - a testament to the maturing process brought about by their hiatus.
With the band's focus clearly now on nuance and melody, there's a chance that Promise Everything could alienate those who prefer the genre's more aggressive elements. In shifting away from the heavier side of their previous records however, Basement have shown themselves to be more than just another emo band, they've proven themselves as massively competent musicians in their own right.
'Aquasun' for instance, is a lush and melodious affair that deftly balances the band's trademarked angst with soaring, anthemic optimism, and is the first real example of their songwriting chops. 'Oversized' is another. Softly meandering towards its understated conclusion, it never seems to go anywhere, but that's alright. That the band have opted to include such an understated track in the middle of the record suggests a confidence in themselves that goes hand in hand with their new-found maturity.
With such maturity and confidence, it's clear that with Promise Everything, Basement have already surpassed many of their contemporaries. Refusing to restrict their influences has allowed the band's palette to expand in such a way that, while yes the obvious are present (Thrice, Rise Against), there's also aspects of metal bands like Deftones or the more introspective moments of grunge.
As such, Promise Everything is a record far more diverse than initial listens would have one believe. That doesn't mean to say its going to break boundaries, but if it teaches the next generation of post-hardcore bands that melody is often more important than aggression, Basement will already have done more than their contemporaries combined. Lush, cathartic and surprisingly brief, Promise Everything is the record that makes good on everything Further Sky promised.
8Dave Beech's Score