Hamilton’s Basement Revolvercontinue to set their sights on forward motion with the release of their six-song Wax and DigitalEP. It follows a successful 2018 that saw the band release their acclaimed debut LP, Heavy Eyes, via Canada’s Sonic Unyonand Memphis Industries affiliate label Fear Of Missing Out, tour with The Go! Team, The Pack A.D., and Amber Arcade, and amass over 1.75 million Spotify plays. They have now expanded to a 4-piece, with the founding trioof guitarist-vocalist Chrisy Hurn, bassist Nimal Agalawatte, and drummer Brandon Munroadding second guitarist Jonathan Malström to further augment and intensify their emotionally charged dream-pop.
“Jon is incredibly talented,” says Hurn. “He brings somuch energy to our live show, and is amazing to watch. His guitar parts add a lot of texture and just generally make everything else sound better. I think it makes our songs a lot more interesting and dynamic; there’s more to dig in to. He also brings a lot to the songwriting process. He has a really good ear for how things should flow.”
Recorded with Toronto-based producer Ian Gomes (Greys, Frigs, Odonis Odonis), the Wax and DigitalEP evolves beyond the bedroomy sound of the band’s previous releases while losing none of its intimacy. Guitars oscillate between soaring riffs and shimmering shoegaze ambience while the rhythm section propels like a well-oiled machine, and Hurn’s vocals ring out in crystal clarity. In the past, she has earned comparisons to The Cranberries’late Dolores O’Riordan,but here she proves her depth with stunning performances in the style of Mitski, Alvvays’ Molly Rankin, or fellow Hamiltonian Ellis.
With her mind on her upcoming marriage, Hurn wrote this collection of songs in a period of change. Looking back at her religious upbringing that she has -for the most part -since left behind, and gazing ahead at the person she hopes to become, she sings of these struggles on “Master’s Degree”with plainspoken lyrics: “I don’t want to be the good one anymore / Just to act nice.
”“Have I Been Deceived” finds her further questioning “the shit I’ve held on to” in a dreamy country-rock sway, while the synth and piano-draped “Romantic At Heart” sees Hurn clutching tight to her significant other as she repeatedly intones “Don’t wanna do you wrong.” Closing the EP, the starry-eyed ballad “What Are You Waiting For” thanks her husband-to-be for the times he “held me at my darkest / through the storm” and admits “though I’m often disastrous / I can feel you more and more.” She begs him to ask the question on both of their minds, while knowing “this love that I’m feeling will never fall out of touch.”
The EP’s opening title track “Wax and Digital”is its most vivid romantic statement. Sharing the impact music has had on her relationship (while also influencing this EP), with albums such as Mewithoutyou’s Pale Horses, Valley Makers’ When I Was a Child, and Pinegrove’s Cardinal, Hurn sings “Everything we love / on wax and digital / connecting me and you.” Yet it is Mount Eerie’s song “Tintin in Tibet,” written directly to his wife Geneviève Castrée who he tragically lost to cancer, that inspired another simple yet powerful lyric that Basement Revolver does best: “I can’t bear the thought of ever losing you.”
“A lot of this EP is about the transitional season of waiting to get married, and that feeling of longing,” Hurn concludes. “Some of it is about coming to terms with the environment that raised me and shaped me, even though I would like to reject it. On a personal level, there has been a lot of uncertainty, a lot of things that I learned growing up that don’t quite sit right with who I would like to be. I think that might be why writing honest music is important, because it helps us to acknowledge our own humanness. Music that makes you cry, or feel that big pit of anxiety in your gut. It has shaped car rides, daily journeys and experiences, and almost been an active member in my relationship. Music just does that.”
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