Hailing from Hull and Leeds, bdrmm have delivered their debut LP on the much loved and acclaimed Sonic Cathedral label. Stuart Ralston came across them late one night when his favourite 6 Music DJ Gideon Coe gave their track Happy a spin a few months ago.
The bdrmm journey began in 2016, and came together rather quickly, when frontman Ryan Smith sent off a track he’d written and recorded on his iPhone and GarageBand to the BBC Introducing website, which resulted in a play on Radio One. At that point Ryan knew he needed to get a band together. Joined by his brother Jordan on bass, Joe Vickers on guitar, Luke Irvine (drums) and Danny Hull (synths), the band were soon demoing and recording material. Frequent support slots throughout 2018 and further radio exposure from Steve Lamacq and by January last year, Nat at Sonic Cathedral caught their live show and wanted bdrmm to be part of their Singles Club. From there, their relationship has blossomed and the debut album reaches the high standards we’ve come to expect from Sonic Cathedral - clearly one of the best independent labels in the country just now.
Producer Alex Greaves is viewed by the band as integral to developing their sound. Having previously produced for Working Men’s Club, Greaves has worked with bdrmm since their debut single. The album was mastered by Heba Kadry who has worked with Slowdive and Björk amongst others. The 10 tracks that make up Bedroom marks a sonic shift from earlier material thanks to the production team of Greaves and Kadry.
The slow building Momo gets the album underway, generating a real warmth, and there’s almost a familiarity with the album, as if you know it already. The instrumental Momo is reminiscent of the likes of The Lucid Dream and Pale Saints, an uplifting, multilayered soundscape and a delightful opening. It sequences into the dramatic Push/Pull and for me, I’m reminded of The Mary Chain, Ride and My Bloody Valentine - bands that bdrmm would be more than happy to be compared too. Indeed, Ride’s Andy Bell is already a fan and has remixed current single A Reason To Celebrate. The remix stays true to the epic version presented here but with added twists and turns.
The album has been viewed by the band as a concept album - running through the stages of a break up - and on A Reason To Celebrate, Smith pours his heart out “How naive we are, yet we made it this far.” From the despair comes an uplifting sense on Gush, driven along by a spectacular bass line and crystal clear production yet set against this musical optimism comes the juxtaposing reflective vocals from Smith.
Happy was my introduction to the band several months ago - forcing me to listen and seek out further recordings. For me it’s the most immediate song on the album. Driven along at a frantic pace; every space filled with layers of guitars and once again an dominant rhythm section maintaining that pace. That pace is slowed down by the almost feedback only jam of (The Silence) and (Un)happy. There’s an ebb and flow to this record to me which is reminiscent of the celebrated works of My Bloody Valentine on their magnificent albums Isn’t Anything and Loveless. Although Bedroom doesn’t quiet reach those heights, you can sense that the band have that determination and ambition to reach there.
The album takes the listener on a real sonic journey and on If... the band almost scale it back a bit. More stripped back than previous cuts, Smith’s vocals are much more prominent in the mix and to some extent, this stripped back approach just makes bdrmm sound even more powerful. It’s possibly the most song-like track on offer here and in itself goes on its own musical journey over its five minute time frame.
The album doesn’t let up as it draws to a close on Is That What You Wanted To Hear? and Forget The Credits. There’s a simplicity to arpeggio that opens Is That What You Want To Hear? allowing the vocals to take centre stage whilst Forget The Credits almost sounds like a film soundtrack.
Bedroom is a incredibly ambitious debut, superbly produced and we look forward to hearing it live - the band are currently rescheduling UK and European dates.