- Date: Saturday 18/11/2023
- Time: 7.00pm
- Price: £12.50
- Age Restrictions: 18+
- Venue: Clwb Ifor Bach
While the world became socially distanced in 2020, Hull’s post-shoegaze, dream pop, heavy guitar effects quartet bdrmm made the kind of impact with their debut album any young band would dream about.
Released on the small Sonic Cathedral label in July that year, Bedroom was hailed as “a heady, forward-thinking shoegaze distillation” by Clash magazine. Mojo said that the band tread the “queasy tightrope of prime Cure, Ride etc. with real dexterity.” The Guardian proclaimed “one of the underground hits of lockdown,”, while NME awarded the album five solid stars and called Bedroom nothing less than “a modern day shoe gaze classic.”
The stunning debut was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy, entered the Official UK chart three times, ended up in Rough Trade’s Top 10 albums of 2020 and turbo-boosted the band’s Spotify following, which now reaches just short of 300,000 listeners each month.
Three years on, the band’s new album I Don’t Know takes the adventure somewhere else. It’s contemporary shoegaze in a way but much, much more. Again recorded at The Nave studio in Leeds with producer Alex Greaves (Working Men’s Club, Bo Ningen), the band’s trademark effects-laden guitars and motorik Neu! grooves have now been augmented by piano, strings, electronica, sampling and even occasional dance beats. Fragile ambient pieces line up against pulverising guitar chords, sometimes within the same song. There are ambient washes and delicate piano pieces, while influences or reference points veer from Radiohead to My Bloody Valentine to the Cure to Brian Eno – perhaps – the minimalist classical of the likes of Erik Satie. Whatever has produced it, it’s a bigger-sounding, more tuneful, really rather fantastic second statement by four young men who are rightly sure about what they’re doing and loving every minute of it.
“We’re still coming from the same place, but the influences have got much broader,” confirms singer-guitarist Ryan Smith. His younger brother Jordan (bass, now also keyboards) has been checking out Steve Reich and Boards Of Canada and says, “A lot of it is just us gaining confidence, and also not wanting to retread old ground. We’d made the guitar record. So we were thinking, ‘What else can we do?’”
Musically they experimented with everything from “pure atmospherics” to eight-minute songs but lyrically, it was more a case of expanding and developing what was already there. On Bedroom, Ryan Smith was writing mainly from a personal perspective – about relationship break-ups, substance abuse and mental health, issues anyone can relate to especially after three years of pandemic, war and economic crisis. This time, the songs still come from a personal place but are more wide-ranging and more universal.