If not, when? was the question Hull based shoegaze, dream pop and indie outfit bdrmm asked on their debut EP, of the same name. Well thankfully the time is now as debut album ‘Bedroom’ has finally arrived. bdrmm have been on the scene for a few years now, releasing debut singles ‘Kare’ and ‘The Way I Want’ back in 2018, both of which later appeared on the ‘If Not, When?’ EP. Leading to the 5-piece signing to Sonic Cathedral; a label infamous for their sonically expansive shoegaze releases.
The influence’s of bdrmm are clear and laid out throughout ‘Bedroom’. There’s heavy elements of Slowedive throughout, wether it be the searing guitar leads on tracks like ‘Push/ Pull’ or ‘Is That What You Wanted To Hear?’. Or the swaying vocal melodies that are scattered throughout; aptly processed through cavernous levels of reverb. There’s also elements of Krautrock that appear in sparks, with the punchy drums and bass lines that can be found on tracks like ‘Gush’ and ‘Happy’. But what the band do with these influences is perhaps the most exciting part of this project. Not only do they take from their influences but they expand upon them in every direction. Fusing them together to create huge atmospheric sounds that demand repeat listens just to find every detail sailing through the ambient textures they create. The guitar leads may not deviate too far from their chorus heavy melodies but they set in place the building blocks for the song to embellish outwards.
Some of the best movements of sound on this album come from the purely instrumental tracks. Opener ‘Momo’ serves as a landmark, detailing the sonic road this album will drive you along. Starting with its eerie synthesisers, flickering guitars and driving drum groove. It then spends the next 3 minutes transitioning through various movements and phases, never getting stuck on an idea, keeping in continuous perpetual motion. And ‘(The Silence)’ which does feature some distant vocal wails, but mostly focuses on its deep sinking textures. Transitioning in from the track ‘Happy’ it slowly detunes and distorts until all thats left is a deep atmosphere watery sounds to bathe your ears in. There’s even some very Lynchian sound effects added with the background sweeps that reminisce in the descent into one of his nightmare worlds.
For all the spaced out moments on the album and luscious textures, there are moments where the band cranks up the gain and hits it hard. And these changes are more than welcome. ‘A Reason To Celebrate’ crunches its way through cycling melodies that wouldn’t feel out of place on a DIIV album. There’s even calls to shoegaze heavyweights of old My Bloody Valentine with the distant screeching guitar lines. According to the band, the album was originally supposed to be titled with this track. Which is fitting given the pure raw emotion pumped into this track that disperses itself in various forms throughout the rest of the tracklisting.
Full of surprises in every direction, this album does make a return to the blown out guitars, but only when you’re least expecting it. ‘If….’ starts in a similar vein to many tracks on this album, building up its melody with a guitar riff or chord progression. Until suddenly you’re hit with this dense wall of sound, exploding into existence like the sonic charges from Attack Of The Clones. And just when you thought the band couldn’t expand their sound even more, closer ‘Forget The Credits’ features some heavily phased and psychedelic guitar passages that almost evoke those same heavenly textures found on a Tame Impala or POND album. Maybe more towards the ‘Slowed and Reverb’ Youtube remixes, but the production elements are still there in abundance.
Give a band a reverb pedal and they’ll make you a shoegaze album. But if you want to make it interesting, you’ll need the songwriting to go behind it. Luckily on this album both come in abundance. There’s catchy melodies, big riffs and lyrics that invoke the dismay of being in your early 20’s, trying to figure out where life goes from here. It may be a bit early to say that bdrmm have entered into the big leagues, but with this album the Hull rockers have proven that given the time, they’ll be ready to prove their way into them.