Five years ago today, Basement released their second album Colourmeinkindness. This release was unlike most sophomore efforts as the band had already disbanded by the time of release. Due to personal commitments, the band had decided to go on indefinite hiatus in July 2012, a few months before the release of their album. Being one of the most promising bands in the emo/grunge rock genre at the time, anticipation for the album was already high but once they had announced their split, this undoubtedly raised curiosity over whether the album would be a fitting farewell or the signs of a band at the end of their tether.
When the album finally dropped, it was already an instant classic for many fans. However, the circumstances surrounding the album then couldn’t be further to the contrary today: no longer the final album, Basement have since reformed, toured extensively, released a third album and signed to a new label, and will most definitely be looking to the future with hope. Fortunately, neither situations negate the fact that Colourmeinkindness is Basement’s crowning achievement and will likely always stand as their magnum opus.
Amidst all the chaos and drama, Colourmeinkindness still stands out on its own in a musical sense, not only as a pivotal moment in the band’s career but one of the best albums of its genre. On the Ipswich band’s debut album I Wish I Could Stay Here, they had already established themselves as a solid grunge rock band, with a heavy-hitting album with some flashes of brilliance lyrically and instrumentally. On the follow-up here, they delivered on their potential with an album that covers all the bases when it comes to everything from aggressive grunge to heartbroken emo-rock.
Listening to this album five years on, it’s still hard to think of an album since that so completely defines its genre and explores every aspect of it whilst still sounding so concise. Right from opening track Whole, Basement show their intentions to be heard with a massive opening track that doesn’t sound too dissimilar to anything from their debut, but already sounds a lot punchier and has a distinct raw aggression to it. They keep this momentum going through the next two tracks, the lead singles Covet and Spoiled, both instantly captivating tracks, especially in the case of Covet which features one of the band’s best hooks (When I’m with you, I don’t want to be with you) and shows further skills the band add to their arsenal on this album.
At this point in the album, it’s already evident that the band is at the top of their game, from the energetic drumming to Andrew Fisher’s vocals that transcend from a whisper to a growl without warning, they show they can do anything. This is further shown on the next track, Pine – a sudden change of pace, it is more laid back instrumentally allowing their lyrics to come to the fore, as Fisher admits his darkest thoughts. “Want me, I need you to want me/ I hate myself, but that’s okay“, is an example of a lyric that has lasted for these five years as one any basement fan will remember vividly, and time and time again on this album their lyrics are so simple yet so painfully relatable they can’t help but cut deeper with every listen.
Pine is a prime example of the main theme of colourmeinkindness, the acceptance of sadness. While the lyrics on this track are heartbreaking, the song is so beautiful, showing that Fisher is no longer afraid of these feelings and can talk about them without pain. Just in this short track there is so much depth to it that is rarely found on an album from its genre and for that reason, as well as many others, is why Colourmeinkindness is still relevant today.
The clear highlight on Basement’s second album is Breathe, a track that is not only the best they have ever created but maybe one of the most stunningly heart-wrenching songs ever written. Again the lyrics stand out due to their simplicity, hiding no emotion or pain, but laying it all bare in a song that details a situation almost anyone can relate to and instantly have their heart broken all over again. “Smile, like it was yesterday/ Make me believe that you’re the same” begs Fisher, as he longs for things to be as they once were, knowing that they can’t. As the song goes on to realise, Breathe details such a complex and emotionally distressing situation in such a simple, human way that the track has always stood out as something special.
As Colourmeinkindness stampedes towards its end through hard-hitting tracks such as Black and Control, Basement continue to display such a prowess in their art as the album achieves a complete mastery of its genre. Obviously, at the time when this album was assumed to be their last, it was important to go out on a high, and they most definitely managed it with Wish. Going out on a huge instrumental climax, Basement confirm their album as a true milestone achievement, an album that is easily the pinnacle of its genre in every aspect. An album that manages to explore complex feelings of self loathing and acceptance in such a simplistic manner is something to be admired and even more so for sounding as confident as it does.
Although it may not be the farewell album fans once thought it was, it still stands as Basement’s finest album, a masterpiece that will continue to inspire punk-rock outfits for years to come.