Bastette like to keep the details to a minimum, sending us their five-track EP, Exposed, and a few pictures, so I can’t tell you much more about them, except that they’re a five-piece band from Blackburn, England, fronted by singer Caroline Eve Kenyon.
This EP includes their single, Talk About It, which has also been made into a music video.
Bastette – Exposed (EP)
Release Date: 17 September 2021
Words: Mark Rotherham
They’ve certainly got the look, but have they nailed it with the sound?
Well, the EP starts with Stand Back, a song that comes at you with a mid-tempo techno drum intro and deep, moody vocals, although Caroline soon switches to a much higher pitch, quickly showing off a good vocal range that dances around your senses like Tinkerbell wearing Doc Martens.
And if, like me, you’ve never heard their stuff before, what you can expect is a deceptively light touch mixture of emo nu-Metal that’s been ever so slightly kicked up the ass by a bit of north England grit. Bastette also like to take their foot on and off the gas pedal, which really mixes things up.
A classy conclusion
Stand Back begins with a slow burn song, the muted distortion guitar giving an updated ’80s synth feel, which slows down to a ballad-type bridge in the middle before once again building up with a slowly creeping drumline taking us towards a classy conclusion.
Their single, Talk About It, is up next, with a slow, shimmering vocal intro, building to a very polished effort, full of pomp-laden keyboards and a nice, tickling riff.
“Talk About It lyrically takes a literal approach”, singer/songwriter Caroline Kenyon says. “We are always told ‘communication is key’ but from my experience, it doesn’t change an already broken relationship. You can go round in circles repeating the same conversations but never come to a conclusion.
“Whilst the track highlights this ineffective and repetitive cycle, it also shows that definitive moment for me when I realised enough was enough. That ‘light bulb’ moment was empowering for me, when I was finally able to see the situation for what it was, the person for who they were. When you see things clearly and let go of the negative, you can create momentum and move forward. It can be seriously motivating.”
Strong lyrics characterise this band, with Caroline owning the song and challenging her imagined, or real, antagonist with her strong, clear voice.
But let’s not forget the rest of the band. In the pictures, it’s your standard rock band line-up of singer, two guitars, bass and drums, and they all do a great job. I’m not sure where all the keyboards are coming from, but it blends together as a real professional mix.
If this is debut stuff, and my research puts this as only their second EP and no album yet, then, believe me, Bastette has got loads of potential.
The third track is called Sick And Twisted, but there’s nothing sick about this song. It’s got a different start, with a chugging guitar riff, but still the tough, defiant lyrics. And there’s nothing sweet about this band, either, but we’re rockers, right? So that’s just what we want, and it’s exactly what we get.
The bass and drum lines are the true heroes of this song, really holding it together, while the lyrics, guitars and keyboards soar over the song’s solid foundation. The production is slick, but not over-done, still retaining an authentic edge without being commercial.
Rollercoaster has a slow, acoustic beginning, and I’m reminded of the band’s website write-up. Bastette call themselves pop-rock, but I think they’re selling themselves way short with that label.
There’s nothing pop about them, their lyrics are too dark, their musicianship too mature, too intricate. And no more so with this song, as it switches effortlessly between slow, moody lyrics which build into abandoned riffs with an insistent, driving chorus. “Don’t underestimate me, there’s so much more to see,” sings Caroline. And if that’s not a motto for this band, I don’t know what is.
The EP ends with a thundering track called Poison, and an opening riff that smashes right into you. There’s certainly no brightness in these songs, it’s all barren desperation and endless mood, but it’s brought together really, really well.
So if that sounds like the kind of waterworks that floats your boat, then climb aboard with this crew. You won’t be disappointed.
Influences? Ask yourself if Bastette are a British Evanescence. Quite possibly. There’s a definite Amy Lee sound to Caroline’s voice. And purists might bemoan the absence of guitar solo work in these songs, but you know what, even for the Metal hearts like me, it’s not missed, it just works.
Bastette almost hit the jackpot with this one, 4 out of 5, 8 out of 10, eighty per cent, whatever you want to call it.
Exposed is a short taste of what Bastette have to offer. It’s a real slice of super-slick potential, and I can’t wait for their full album and their next tour.
Bastette will also play this years Rockin’ The Bowl, in Sheffield.
Talk About It
Sick And Twisted
Caroline Kenyon – Vocals/Songwriter
Sam Newiss – Lead Guitar
Eoin Kelly – Rhythm Guitar
Paddy Duffy – Bass
Rob Hirst – Drums