And so The Bedroom Hour is now upon us in the form of debut album Hinterland.
The London 5-piece have been building towards this point for some time now, progressing from a promising collection of songs to a stunning first EP and now the release of their debut long player. Funded by an extremely successful Pledge Music campaign the strength of support behind this band is undeniable but also brings with it a weight of expectation.
Opening instrumental prelude Ocean sets the scene and the themes contained in the following 10 tracks, an atmosphere of isolation, distance and space, a feeling of being on the outside, just out of reach, but with a sense of hope and light for all is not lost. Reminiscent of the opening to U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” building the anticipation of what is to come.
Sea Without Water follows the prologue with chiming guitar layered over sublime synth that rise and fall until the glorious soaring chorus takes over and, what will now become, the stunning trademark vocal delivery of lead singer Stuart Drummond; heartfelt, emotion laden and utterly believable. The rousing Nocturnal follows next, this traditional live set closer making an early appearance with its driving rhythm section and country style guitar which again references Joshua Tree era U2, an arms aloft anthem in the making.
Surprisingly non of the 6 tracks featured on the Themes EP from last year feature on the album, not including tracks such as X-Marks The Spot, Shadow Boxer and Slow Motion Cinema, which would happily grace any bands first record, shows courage and belief in the songs and concept of Hinterland with the decision ultimately being judged by the test of time.
The album unfolds with the beautiful Heart Will Haunt, the simple rhythm and muted guitar allowing the vocal to shine in all it’s vulnerability and honest conveyance that reminds you of Guy Garvey, before breaking in to a triumphant chorus that seems at odds with the subject matter but inspires a hope that all is not lost and there is light in the darkness. Broken conjures up images of a futuristic and post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi movie landscape, all desolate and lonely with brooding bass and incessant drums haunted by ghostly synths which are interspersed with flashes of white light from wailing guitar and the raw refrain of the singer. Continuing the contemporary ballad of the previous two tracks Sapphires unusually takes its lead from the drums with guitar and piano used sparingly but effectively to back the drum and vocal combination creating an epic sounding track that again evokes memories of the Joshua Tree.
Religious connotations and post-punk bass lines form the bedrock on which Ghost Of A Smile is built, combining effortlessly with the chiming guitar of Rob Payne and the shimmering piano of Mark Dudley to create a huge sounding track. For younger readers World War Me will draw comparisons to early Killers but for older readers will bring back memories of the bands that inspired them, namely Joy Division. Dark and brooding with post-punk attitude WW/Me will force you into submission with a barrage of drums, a volley of bass and a broadside of guitar. The new-wave synth of I See Suns draws on the modern exponents of the genre The Horrors in its swirling psychedelic melody with the driving rhythm and angular guitar harking back to Depeche Mode, a heady mix and exciting prospect.
In the same way the title track for the Themes EP was an interlude here we have the title track, Hinterland, which is a moment that encapsulates the whole album; dark and light and all that comes between. Final track A Map Made From My Bones is another synth soaked roller coaster of a journey, sweeping along moody bass, menacing guitar and europhic keys that are all bound together by the soaring vocals.
Hinterland is a unashamedly big sounding, bold and ambitious record that is all about moments, taking snapshots of life to create soundscapes that we can all relate to. In this age of throw away consumerism The Bedroom Hour are a band to rally behind and will reward you in kind with beautifully crafted emotive music that will stand the test of time.
The official album launch will take place at the legendary Night and Day in Manchester on Saturday 12th July further details here
The album is released 14th July available on iTunes here
2. Sea Without Water
4. Heart Will Haunt
7. Ghost Of A Smile
9. I See Suns
11. A Map Made From My Bones
Introducing….. The Bedroom Hour
Gig Review: The Bedroom Hour – Live Lounge, Blackburn 17/11/12
EP Review: The Bedroom Hour – Themes
Gig Review: The Bedroom Hour – Night & Day, Manchester 10/08/13
Gig Review: The Bedroom Hour – Night & Day, Manchester 02/11/13