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Bedhead
Transaction de Novo
Trance Syndicate

"Bedhead records have always moved like shadows cast by a full moon."(Option magazine)

Picture Aerosmith: stupid, cartoonish boner-rock. Well, here's the extreme opposite; Bedhead, from Dallas, Texas, presenting quiet music, but as potent as rock can be. On Transaction the Novo, their 3rd album (after WhatFunLifeWas 94, and Beheaded 96), they show soothing magic with their low-voiced, anaestethic compositions.

Bedhead was formed in 1991 by the brothers Kadane; Matt and Bubba, who have been playing together since the late 70's. Matt and Bubba, both doing guitars and vocals, with Tench Coxe on a third guitar, Kris Wheat on bass, and Trini Lopez playing drums. Bedhead come up with a mixture of alternative rock from the ebb of the 60's, the 70's and the 80's - imagine a combination of the spirit and soul of The Velvet Underground, Joy Division, and Galaxie 500. But yet sounding very "90's", as this new "wave" of bands suddenly turned their amps to 3 instead of 11.

Transaction de Novo rolls quite slowly into speed with Exhume, which is slightly related to (the instrumental) Inhume from their The Dark Ages EP. Bedhead don't rush into songs, as they seem to be circling for ages before getting to the core of a melody. They sound so well-planned, but without being calculated. Their sound is so steady, so balanced and accurate, with the instruments creating music almost like someone carefully paints a picture. The three guitars work on different levels, making most elegant layers of sound. Together they construct a fine-meshed spiderweb of music.

Bedhead presents songs from the melancholic and low-voiced side of pop. Making music you may suspect was created somewhere far from the surface of the Earth, hence the title Extramundane. Yet it's like they're operating from sub-ground. Sometimes it feels like they're coming up from below, quite mystic and sort of giving you shivers, as in More Than Ever. So slow, so good that it hurts. They present waltzing songs like Parade and Lepidoptera, for in the next moment to speed up a bit with Extramundane, a bouncy popsong like done by, say, The Bats or The Clean. The song Forgetting seems so brittle, it makes you hold your breath not to disturb its fragile atmosphere. Reminiscent of the music of Will Oldham, and his Palace/Palace Music/Palace Brothers. With Psychosomatica they speed up again. Rocking, rolling, almost being brutal, for in the final song, The Present, to be back in the low and slow. Stay in bed, and fill your head with the music of Bedhead. The new transaction brings tranquilizing stuff. A stunning album. It's timbre magic!

Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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