Published Oct 15, 2019Basement Revolver's new EP, Wax and Digital, is a wonderful playground of contradictions. It's a worthy and textured successor to their beautiful 2018 debut LP, Heavy Eyes.
The band's sound has matured as bandmates have. The music and lyrics smartly survey guitarist-vocalist Chrisy Hurn's past and look optimistically ahead. Where before Basement Revolver were comprised of Hurn, bassist Nimal Agalawatte and drummer Brandon Munro, the dreamy Hamilton, ON band have expanded to include a second guitarist, Jonathan Malström. The guitars on this EP blast adroitly, but urgently, at times errant or untamed, but ultimately always kept in check by Hurn's voice, which is so much like the Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan, it's spooky.
If you sped up a track from Julee Cruise's Floating Into the Night, title track "Wax and Digital" might be what you'd get. It's a delightful song whose ragged music perfectly, impossibly, complements Hurn's silken voice, which is clear but also sounds like it's being heard through a tunnel. On "Concussion Pt. 2," the bass broods, the guitars are maniacal, and the drums pound, while Hurn's words plead calmly for respite from the world's immutability and incessant movement. "So it goes / spinning out of my control," Hurn sings. The song feels like spinning around in circles getting dizzier and dizzier, while the world remains indifferent.
"Have I Been Deceived," is deceptively romantic, like the less desperate sister of the Cranberries' "Linger." "Romantic At Heart" is a gem whose gently plucked keyboard moves one to tears.
There's something strange but immensely pleasant in the EP's marriage of opposites, sonically and lyrically. We have been taught to expect politeness from beauty, but Hurn's voice spits out expletives and sings about messiness and her frustrations with constraining norms, all against the thundering and tearing of the guitars.
This is a modern dream pop record that isn't overworked — it's genuinely unruly and complicated. There isn't a song here you won't like. (Sonic Unyon)