Bed Rugs: 8th Cloud (Ample Play)
Bed Rugs’ Big Lebowski inspired name might suggest a slacker band but in fact they make great, melodic pop. Roib McNamara reviews.
This is the debut LP from Bed Rugs and the latest release on the excellent Ample Play label. For a first studio effort, it’s a quite expansive and confident effort that features surging riffs, big fat bass lines and crashing drums set to a background of rock mayhem and occasional indie bliss.
Many, many influences are at play here and – for a start – Purple Pill combines the musical hooks of Pete Townshend with Revolver era Beatles, like Dr Robert taking the 5.15 from Quadrophenia.
This is no 60s throwback, though, Modern Freaks brings the record into the current decade. It’s a blistering rock tune that has balls and makes Kings Of Leon look like the Pet Shop Boys.
The hefty bass line, insistent rhythm guitar and deliberately lethargic backing vocals on Trees give it a slacker/shoegaze feel before developing into a sweeping chorus backed up by little shimmering notes, dashing around the song and adding colour. Its symptomatic of the constant changing directions on the record.
Evening Crusade will have you thinking of American surf rock purveyors, Real Estate, while Mark’s Ghost journeys through less travelled ethereal country, as does Dream On, both of which may point to an affection for Jellyfish at their most intimate.
Among some great tracks, Be A Little Strange is perhaps the most conventional thing here. However it’s still the best thing on the record. It’s got to be an indie hit, end up on the soundtrack of a quirky movie and win the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Otherwise, there is no justice in the world. It’s the kind of song, with its shuffling rhythm and lovely sentiment that is still with you long after listening. It segues into the Indian beat of Shoe, en example of what Kula Shaker were trying to achieve in the ’90s – but never quite achieved.
Almost everything works on this very endearing record that marries straight up rock tunes with some really innovative indie pop. There’s a nice variety in tempo and a light and shade in styles. It shows versatility, a quality that many modern bands unfortunately cannot pull off.
All words by Rob McNamara – find more from him here.