'Heavy Eyes' by Basement Revolver, album review for Northern Transmissions

Sonic Unyon Records

6.5

Basement Revolver

Heavy Eyes

‘Heavy Eyes’ the debut record by Ontario trio, Basement Revolver, is an album built on threadbare vulnerability and stark intimacy, which is beamed onto a canvas made of lush soundscapes that slowly transition from fuzzy dream pop to crunching indie-rock. The combination of vocalist/guitarist, Chrisy Hurn’s almost-childlike delivery and band’s grandiose sound creates a mesmeric trance, this is where Hurn’s bruised, personal stories gradually swell in-front of your very eyes as swathes of layered guitars and sturdy drums gently waft over you.

From the outset ‘Heavy Eyes’ lays down a confessional marker within the first minute of the record; ‘Baby’ unfurls at a glacial pace as Hurn admits “there is giant cloud that sits above my head”, whilst the track’s colossal sonics seem to expand in slow-motion. The way in which Hurn coolly delivers her intimate wordplay helps dissolve any taboo or any awkwardness – especially when the vocalist opens up about a brush with a potential unplanned pregnancy scare “thank you madam Laura/for walking me to the pharmacy/I was so scared of starting the new life”. It’s as if you’re being ushered into a private world but you’re instantly accepted, it feels like all barriers have been broken down and you’re free to express yourself in whichever way you choose. There’s a subtle mantra at the records midway point, as Hurn utters “words are just words/are words/are words” as if to simplify the infamous “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” saying our parents would utter to us as children. This isn’t to say just because ‘Heavy Eyes’ welcomes you with open arms it’s an easy listen; a lumbering darkness shrouds ‘Wait’ as Hurn contemplates something drastic “I wanna drive this car into the ocean/leave behind the scars that left me broken/wait. Tell me it’s alright to be alone again”. Whilst the majority of the three piece’s primary outing is encased in a shoegaze hum, the LP’s title track opts for a darker more abrasive sound, fuelled by Brandon Munro’s piston like drumming.

Whilst you can’t fault ‘Heavy Eyes’ openness, it’s an album with limited sonic gear changes, meaning tracks can blur into one and not always hold your attention. Equally, when Hurn goes for a higher register and holds a note for longer than expected, her voice can be a bit shrill which detracts from some of the record’s more delicate moments.

‘Heavy Eyes’ isn’t perfect but what is? If you’re looking for a record to find solace in, Basement Revolver have made this for you. The album comes out on August 24th via Sonic Unyon.

Words and thoughts of Adam Williams