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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Bedhead - '4songCDEP19:10' (Trance Syndicate)

Bedhead's records all have a really similar design and this weird mishmash of numbers like a private barcode, in which BH0x is always present with x being the number of the release. WhatFunLifeWas is actually BH03 and I have all the subsequent ones so they must have had a debut 7" or two that I still need to complete my collection. Which I would love to do, because as I mentioned in the previous post, I love this fucking band and it's here where they start to hit their stride. This EP, BH04, was recorded in a big empty Texas church on one microphone. Unlike their studio recordings, these 4 songs are light and slightly more strummy, letting the room sing through the notes. 'Heizahobit' opens up with a real Feelies The Good Earth feeling, a sound not given lightly despite it's apparently lack of weight. 'Dead Language' is an all-time Bedhead fave, where the vocals come to the forefront though they are no less gentle; lyrics that seem to touch on war and skin and graves and something personal all at once. Despite the 100 times I've listened to this song I've never bothered to look for literal meaning, instead being satisfied to let the jaunty bounce of the drums and the slightly awkward melody set some sort of mood. Yeah, it's the most folky Bedhead moment probably, and it seems like they've relaxed a bit but stayed focused, which sounds like a contradiction but this is a band that contradicts itself more as you sink deeper into their music. 'WhatI'mHereFor' is a repetitive riff led by a solid, consistent drum that again devolves as it goes along while sticking to the pattern. The last track is a cover of Joy Division's 'Disorder' which I will say without hesitation blows away the original. The booming sound of the church is the lead instrument and Ian Curtis's vocal dramatics are replaced by Matt Kadane's existential murmur. Without any trace of hysterics the song still screams with pain, with the lackadaisacal repition of the two-note guitar lead driving the point home. The 'you've got the spirit/don't lose the feeling' part rises to a new intensity unheard in the original that somehow feels more genuine to me, even though they didn't write it. With an approach and palette like this, it's hard for Bedhead to ever come off as false or disingenuous. The 19 mnutes 10 seconds that embedded in the title end and it's all been very satisfying. This may be the black sheep of the Bedhead catalogue, but it's a place worth visiting regardless.

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