It Holds Up: Basement – ‘Colourmeinkindness’
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On October 23, 2012, one of the most highly regarded prospects of the UK pop-punk scene and the recent recipients of Tumblr’s undying love, Basement, released their second record, Colourmeinkindness on Run For Cover Records. The record cemented Basement’s status as a foundational band to that current wave of grungey emo, and further established RFC as the label where you went to hear shredding guitar bands. Now, just over 8 years later, Colourmeinkindess still holds up. The grand grunge-inspired gestures, Midwest Emo ingenuity, and sonic accuracy made this the best record of Basement’s discography and an album worth remembering.
Basement, hailing from Ipswich, England, recorded Colourmeinkindness with producer Sam Pura (known for The Story So Far’s discography) at The Panda Studios in Fremont, California. In past interviews, Alex Henery (guitarist) said the band would write sections of the songs and email them back and forth to each other. Created part on the internet and part in a studio halfway around the globe from their home, the process seems to have been chaotic. This hectic energy continued, when almost immediately after the album’s announcement for release that Fall, the band would announce that they would be going on a surprising hiatus after their upcoming US and UK dates, to return to school and their careers. Almost every part of the creation and promotion of this record was chaotic, but channeling of the chaos is what may have created extraordinary about this album.
Right from release, Colourmeinkindness was met with critical success, and saw some good sales numbers as well, reaching the top spot on Billboard’s vinyl albums chart and 188 on the overall release charts. However with the band on their previously announced hiatus, there were no US shows for the release and promotion was meager. There wasn’t even a single music video for the album. Despite all that, it was during this hiatus period when Colourmeinkindess started to really accelerate in growth and become the important emo album we remember.
On the internet, the record was blooming into one of the most quotable and iconic releases of the year and eventually would retain a spot as one of the pillars of the scene. Basement’s untethered precision made for an album that was reminiscent of the early ’90s heavy hitters, and they maintained an underground appeal while striking a chord with the pop-punk community. Their sound was incredibly developed and self-assured at this point. The fact that this was only their sophomore release makes this that much more admirable. In 2012 when Adam Pfleider reviewed the record for Absolute Punk, he had this to say, “In 2012, Basement are the next UK band to write a better American “radio rock” record than if you took the top-selling tier of “cock rock” bands and molded a supergroup with a VH1 reality show.”
Their playing style didn’t shy away from the more massive aspects of the scene, flirting with hardcore and sinking their teeth into the sinuous texture of pop-punk at the time while taking jabs at the American radio style grunge. From the top, “Whole” reels us in with a steady beat and unapologetic riffs that keep your heart rate up. Andrew Fisher’s vocals cut through the barrage of noise and keep the sentimental edge pushing the song forward.
The crown jewel is the second track, “Covet,” one of the most iconic love songs in the 2010’s catalog. With a pulling melody, it almost drags the listener along with it. Midway through the song, we have a hypnotic drum solo that features the most iconic lyrics of the track, “You are everything, my most demeaning dream.” “Covet” was such an incredibly important stepping stone in Basement’s online persona, Tumblr got ahold of that song and plastered it on text edits and picturesque gifs of the pacific northwest. That song became every punk’s token love song for a few years, to the extent that I still send it when I’m trying to win someone over. Lyrically, this record is some of their best work. Sincerity abounds as we digest the feelings of grief, love, loneliness, and self-importance. The narrative presented through this record is the attempt as self-reflection and trying to induce personal growth.
The deeper we go, Fisher’s vocals grow more manic and frenzied as we wade through the elusive ideas of adulthood. Though we reach a peak of tender admission on the song, “Comfort.” With a minimalist arrangement and gentle lyrics, we ease ourselves into the transition back to a hardcore-inspired finale on “Wish.” Colour ushered Basement into the spotlight. With their tastefully juvenile spirit, matched against the mature lyrics and transcendent quality, they became one of the stars of the 2010’s pop-punk scene.
They were missing stars however, and it was only in Summer 2014, after the band was urged out of retirement by over two years of the love for this record, that fans around the world really got to scream along to these songs. During that tour, Basement played Colourmeinkindness and their debut, I Wish I Could Stay Here, to sold out crowd in the US, Australia, Japan and the UK, and proved these songs’ ability to hold their own live.
Over time and a bunch of releases since, Basement have earned the respect of fans young and old, and Colourmeinkindness has become one of the quintessential records for autumnal listening and one of the best starter records to that era of pop-punk. The album was one of the first records during the infancy of the streaming age that gained traction, with “Covet” holding their stop spot at 13,410,698 streams. On the LP Basement managed to encapsulate the nostalgia of the 90’s radio with the urgency of modern playing techniques, in a way that they fully haven’t been able to recapture since, but with Colourmeinkindness there is no doubt that they made their mark.
Konstantina Buhalis // @tinatlking
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