Heavy Eyes is the debut album from Canadian indie-rock trio Basement Revolver. There’s an air of weariness pervading the album, with the sleepy title Heavy Eyes summing up a general exhaustion right down to the bone, as well as hinting at a heavier direction as they deftly merge 90s infused indie rock with fuzzy dreamy pop and poignant, yearning lyrics. Unable to disguise the emotion in her voice, songwriter Chrisy Hurn shares intimate stories and personal wounds from her past, revealing a deeply affecting and rewarding set of songs.
Bringing together the talents of Chrisy Hurn (vocals, guitar), Nimal Agalawatte (bass, synth) and Brandon Munro (drums), the band hail from Hamilton, Ontario and were named Basement Revolver due to Chrisy’s basement apartment, rather than any trigger happy leanings. Their ascent to the spotlight has been a steady trajectory, capitalising on the success of their debut single “Johnny” in 2016. The track garnered endorsements from DIYMagazine and Exclaim! as well as respected tastemakers Gold Flake Paint, who hailed it a “‘favourite song of the year” contender. They had stumbled across a sound that is capable of stripping listeners of inhibition, yet heavy hitting enough to leave a lasting impression.
On the back of “Johnny”, they were signed by Memphis Industries’ UK sub-label Fear Of Missing Out, who released their debut self-titled EP in 2016 with “Johnny” and their second single “Words” reaching the higher echelon of the Hype Machine chart and the EP flagged up in several end of year lists. They followed this up with the Agatha EP in 2017 where the single “Bread & Wine” reached the B-list on Radio BBC 6 Music and also garnered support from John Kennedy at Radio X. The band have racked up over one million plays on Spotify across the two EPs.
To record their debut full-length, the band returned to local studio TAPE (Memoryhouse, Dirty Nil, Edgar Breau), where they had recorded their first two EPs. They had build up a solid relationship with producers Adam Bentleyand Jordan Mitchell, as they continued to hone their signature sound. In this comfortable environment, they found the freedom to get heavier for some songs and more laid-back for others. As Chrisy explains; “It also gave me the confidence as a writer to not take myself so seriously, to let myself get cheesy or goofy with some songs.”
And what great songs they are, it really is the songwriting that makes Basement Revolverstand out from the rest. Assured yet open, beguiling yet honest, heartfelt yet playful. Right from the off the listener is greeted by opening track “Baby”, an expansive and vast echoing anthem laden with emotion and melancholia. As Chrisy elaborates; “Baby is about feeling sad and down even though you are generally happy about everything and everyone in your life. It is about crying a lot and my tendency to retreat when things get too overwhelming, to spend all day and night in bed and watching Netflix and eating Doritos.”
There are subjects that we can all relate to; “Dancing” is about confronting feelings of boredom and seeking adventure, “break out of your shell, and dance, or get some fresh air” Chrisy says, whilst “You’re Okay” is about struggling with self-confidence and body image.
“Knocking” is probably the heaviest song emotionally on the album. As Chrisy explains,“I often still can’t sing it without crying.” Written after writing her family a long letter coming clean about her past, it left her feeling vulnerable and raw, ashamed of some of the things she had done and worried about being a disappointment. Chrisy continues,“I basically kept telling myself that I was garbage, broken, unlovable, used and a whole other slur of things. I think that knocking was my way out of that dark place.” But when she came clean she felt forgiveness and acceptance, in a place where she could move on and forgive herself.
In a relatively short time, Basement Revolver have successfully encapsulated the yearning and hopefulness of their generation, whilst harnessing a unique, yet familiar soundscape.