Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Bedhead - 'Beheaded' (Trance Syndicate)

It's a bit awkward to sing a word like 'efficacy' in rock music but somehow these guys pull it off. Not surprising, really, for a band with a guy named Bubba and another named Tench. I've always though there's something weird in the water down there but Bedhead definitely stem from the thoughtful side of Texas rock music (the same college-educated place the American Analog Set come from) instead of the Gibby/Roky/freak side. They can co-exist though - after all, King Coffey put this record out so he's clearly a man of discerning taste. This was the first record I heard by them and probably their masterpiece, except for their last album. Dual masterpieces maybe? The epic song is 'The Rest of the Day' which was the one that blew eveything open for me the first time I heard it, with some slowcore geek in a dorm room, autumn of freshman year, circa 2 AM. Wide-eyes staring at each other through the silence while moonlight lit up the incredibly dismal surroundings - it was true adolescent magic, and what better soundtrack to convince myself that I wasn't a normal adolescent? The three guitar formula is still here but there's some occasionaly chimes or xylophone, used to incredibly powerful effect in 'The Rest of the Day'. You wanna talk about a buildup? But they, they cut it off again!! -- resisting the urge to let that hot magma explode everywhere. The overlapping ascending and descending guitar lines are the ropes building a temple to sound; whatever microgenre you wanna stick this in - post-rock or slowcore or indiewhatever -- here's one of the finest examples of it. The whole album is awesome though - 'Losing Memories' ends the record on gentle note (which is the Bedhead M.O.) there's the obligatory fast rocker ('Felo de Se'). The Kadane boys share vocal duties but you can barely tell which one is singing. They are twins after all. 'Beheaded', the opening track, takes the moody dirge of 'Inhume' (from The Dark Ages EP) and adds an equally gloomy vocal to it, which is cut through at the end by the xylophone or whatever - shining through the darkness like points of light in the sky. 'Smoke' captures a beautiful vision stained through barroom eyes perfectly and 'Roman Candle' twists chord changes exactly when they're needed. I think a lot of people might find this music too wimpy, too cerebral, or just too normal for their mindfucked musical tastes, yet I think everyone could benefit from some close study of Bedhead's work.

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