March 31 2015: This review is for Hinterland by The Bedroom Hour. I’ve been made aware that some people are expecting to read about new album Hinterland by LoneLady.
So, The Bedroom Hour’s debut album, Hinterland is finally here. The band were posting regular updates on its progress and successfully crowd funded to help with its release. I’m feeling that same sensation when a good friend has just had a baby – you’ve been there for the announcement, cooed over the fuzzy scan photo, and now here it is, in its glorious vocal reality.
Hinterland’s cover shot first appeared on The Bedroom Hour’s cool new website, which they unveiled a couple of months ago. It’s a dramatic, moody view of London under a thunderous sky in which your eye travels from the glittery Shard and financial district/tourist centre to its outlying sprawl, its whole suffused with something dark. I’m reminded of JG Ballard’s novel Kingdom Come, an unease, a dislocation, London the Hinterland. The image is accompanied by Ocean – an intriguing instrumental track, layered and dense, which oozes with tension. Continuing on a watery theme is Sea without Water… one of my favourite Bedroom Hour songs, a dreamy, wistful ballad with a strong hook and pleasingly retro sounding rippling guitar by Rob Payne. It’s the perfect vehicle for Stuart Drummond’s emotion-drenched vocals which are allowed to soar as the song reaches its final few bars. And it’s the one you will find easiest to sing along with after a few drinks. The next number, Nocturnal is another powerful number: there’s the guitar intro which ripples and soars, and the strong chorus, Stuart’s lyrics bemoaning love lost, ‘sleep through the day, just to get away from the thought of you with someone…’ Heart will Haunt is a song familiar to fans. The song paces itself with a slow build, a master of restraint that takes two steps forward and one step back. Its percussive start leads into Stu’s vocals with the guitars weaving in, Andy Copper’s bassline beautifully holding it together. I always feel that this song has to tread a fine line to keep the vocal delivery controlled, which Stuart manages successfully, but there’s the potential in the wrong hands for this number to sound overblown. I’ve only heard track 6, Sapphires recently, and it’s a beauty, a vocal-lead number suffused with emotion, with an anthemic chorus. Things get more rocky and upbeat on track 9 I See Suns, with gorgeously sexy bass underpinning the track. The bluesy quality of Stuart’s voice really shines and I love the euphoric burst of keyboard. It’s good to see the band flirt with their music a bit more and explore their upbeat side. It would be interesting if someone could do a dance remix. Title track Hinterland occupies the penultimate position – the yin to first track Ocean’s yang – and it has that lush, multi-layered, dreamy quality of the opener. The album closes with A Map Made from my Bones, which I first heard at the band’s appearance att Paradise at Kensal Rise. I was looking forward to hearing it again and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s a strong bass line from which the song launches into a wall-of-sound arena-filling intensity with a plaintive guitar riff hat complements Stuart’s vocals. Wishing you guys all the best tonight in Manchester!! Hinterland will be available on iTunes from July 14, order here The album launch party is on Saturday 12th July at Night and Day cafe, Manchester https://www.facebook.com/thebedroomhour Below is an earlier video of the band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqpo5PIg0EE