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Album Reviews

Album Review: Better Nights // Better Days – Basement League

 

 

 

 

Record Label: Unsigned

Release Date: 11/06/2021

For Fans Of: Boston Manor, Roam, Real Friends

 

If you’re looking to add some fresh impetus to your stagnating pop-punk playlists then look no further. Better Nights // Better Days is the debut EP from Basement League, and it kicks like the Karate Kid with his hands tied behind his back. There’s anthemic choruses, dramatic heights followed by mellow lows, and some moments of quality songwriting to feast your ears upon.

Basement League step up to the plate with ‘Gravity’ and hit a home run as it explodes from the speakers with infectious energy and bounce. ‘Youth Of Today’ has a similar nature in terms of how it erupts rather than simply plays, causing a shower of gigantic riffs and relentless drums crashing down in its wake, although they all seem to miss the target. Lyrically and vocally there is a lot to be admired in both tracks with their resonating call-to-arms message, a clear strength of Basement League. 

The lead single from the record, ‘Rein Me In’ has more hooks than a cloakroom and a plethora of styles and influences to its identity. There’s a punk-ferocity, a vocal range that dabbles between indie and hardcore, and some alt-rock undertones for good measure. While such an eclectic mix is bold and adventurous, the track at times feels as though it’s wearing its older siblings hand-me-downs. The contrasting styles work independently but when combined they each lose a little of their effectiveness.

Better Nights // Better Days features previously released single, ‘Juniper’, a gritty alt-rock number with a healthy dose of bitterness: just what the Doctor ordered! The venomous line “I’m doing better now! How’s this for closure?” unashamedly echoes from every chorus with a clear catharsis that feels all too relatable.

‘Plain White Planes’ lulls listeners into a false sense of security with a serene and tranquil beginning, but it soon wakes from its slumber with a spring in its step and a hearty cry. ‘Insomnia’ provides a softer and more subtle aspect to the record with a beautiful vocal arrangement that is a pleasure to hear, but with a lingering ruthlessness that threatens to over-power the song but impressively refrains from doing so. In terms of the balance between contrasting styles, ‘Insomnia’ is the most effective hybrid and the most successful balance achieved on the record. The other tracks strive for this balance but ultimately don’t achieve it.

The cocktail of styles that are blended to create Better Nights // Better Days is evident throughout, but at times it doesn’t quite taste how Basement League hoped it would: as if there’s just perhaps one ingredient too many, though they’re not far from getting it right. There are some real positives to the record in ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Juniper’ which stand out from the crowd, head and shoulders above the rest. The five-piece are a work in progress and this EP signifies the potential within the band. 

Rating: 5/10

Recommended Track: ‘Insomnia’

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