Basement Revolver


In 2020, the world stopped but Basement Revolver never really did: songs were written and recorded, a band member left, and another came to replace them. But, they couldn’t tour or rehearse or record in the usual way. The gap between making work, and being alone, resulted in serious introspection for the band. Their new album is full of the tension in a world that is shut down, but which expects productivity. This resulted in a deeper understanding of what kind of message the band wanted to present, and which stories they wanted to tell. The result was 2022’s Embody — and now its counterpart, Embody Live (out June 9, 2023 on Sonic Unyon). The indie dreamgaze band from Hamilton, Ontario have been playing together for more than six years. Their co-leads Nim Agalawatte and Chrisy Hurn have known each other for much longer. Their career started with a bang, being signed by the UK label fear of missing out on the strength of their 2016 break-out single, “Johnny.” They followed this up with three EPs in quick succession–an eponymous one in 2016, Agatha in 2017, and Wax and Digital in 2019. A full-length, Heavy Eyes, was released later that same year.

This punishing schedule of releases was supported by concerts throughout Southern Ontario, the US, the UK, and Germany. 2020/1 was supposed to be the same–a new full length album, Embody, and touring dates to support it. The pandemic meant less touring, and different ways of being in the world. But, there was also reconsideration of who the band was. Nim talks about how they found themselves in the midst of creating an album under these strange circumstances. They planned on making the album last year. They waited, and worked out what to do, eventually changing what they wrote.

“The world was shifting around us — and there was some global trauma — with that, we decided we wanted to fully express ourselves.…We realized that to be who we are fully and authentically, we needed to share our voice.”

That voice includes making explicitly public identities that were previously private. Coming out in the middle of pandemic means that embodiment has to take new forms, and this album is one of those ways forward. This record, with its complex sonic landscapes, sometimes lush and sometimes stark, is of a piece with their earlier work, but it’s deeper and more self-aware. Embody is the sound of freedom, especially in the midst of such pain, both locally and globally. Trading tracks virtually, rehearsing online, and the isolation of that means that the album is full of hopeful waiting — to tour, of course, but also to engage these new understandings in the physical world.




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