Once reviled, the shifting critical evaluation of shoegaze coincided with a 21st century resurgence, with a host of groups pushing back the boundaries, producing a myriad of redefined dream pop formulas for a fresh era.
Leeds via Hull group bdrmm are part of this narrative, but in a very real sense they’re operating on their own. A flurry of early releases defined their sound and approach, a kind of slender, spider-like lyrical introversion set against aspects of Slowdive, or even The Cure’s somnambulist elements.
Debut album ‘Bedroom’ however gives the band room to fully explore their sonic palette, resulting in a project of real depth and no small degree of emotional heft. Yes, those shoegaze elements are reinforced, but bdrmm add crunching, post-rock leaning tributaries, at times recalling a kind of more song-fixated Explosions In The Sky, yet with added reverb.
‘Momo’ is a gorgeous opener, and you can’t quite help becoming swept up in their airy currents of sound. ‘Push/Pull’ feels like a real group statement, reliant upon the communication between each foundational aspect; ‘Gush’ meanwhile is more direct, reminiscent of those early Ride EPs but with a slight sense of remove.
A record written and recorded against a backdrop of Brexit dystopia and the emerging pandemic, ‘Bedroom’ has very good reason to delve inwards. ‘(Un)happy’ taps into an all-too-real sense of purring dissatisfaction, while the looming parenthesis heralded by ‘If...’ not only nods towards the Lindsay Anderson film, but our own sense of missed opportunity.
Fusing dappled guitar effects with elements of the Krautrock rhythmic chassis, ‘Bedroom’ scorches to its finale with a formidable degree of crunch. A broad yet precise listen, bdrmm’s debut ranges from the snappy sub three minute ‘(The Silence)’ to the rather more luxuriant ‘Forget The Credits’, a fine album finale that deals in broad brushstrokes and cinematic layering of sound.
A heady, forward-thinking shoegaze distillation, ‘Bedroom’ is a vital listen, with bdrmm allowing their early promise to fully develop. Much more than a genre piece, it’s a vital delve into the power of our communal isolation.
Words: Robin Murray
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