Not so long ago, two brothers, Matt and Bubba Kadane, and friends put out an album called What Fun Life Was. With its titular nod to loss, Bedhead’s first full-length was a simmering stew of measured restraint balanced against thick guitar crescendoes. After two more full lengths, a few singles and a couple of EPs, the Kadane brothers called it quits, their disbanding marked rather politely with a letter addressed to fans which wended its way ‘round the Net.
That they thought enough about the devoted fans to explain why they chose to withdraw from an increasingly brighter spotlight was a nod to their knowledge of listeners’ insistent desires that they continue. The letter also promised more work in the future, which fueled anticipation and rumours that neared the volume of My Bloody Valentine in I-heard-it’s-coming-out-in-____(put year here) in terms of mailing list speculation. And not unlike MBV’s Kevin Shields, who’s doing time as a remixer (and, as of late, part-time Primal Scream member), their next appearance would not be a strictly Bedhead affair.
Revisiting an earlier musical relationship with their old highschool friends now in Macha, brothers Joshua and Mischo McKay, the Kadanes have fleshed out the Bedhead sound with a few more ounces of sound, courtesy their new partners. Stitching together roughly sketched out guitar and drum parts sent to them by the Bedhead boys, Macha assembled and reworked the Bedhead sound to produce a slow-paced album that works, with only one minor flaw.
Bedhead Loved Macha‘s strengths are the unmistakable sonic markers that put you back in the headspace of those early albums: sparse guitars giving way to compressed noise, lightly flecked with cymbal and dotted with dulcimer (although absent for the most part are the hushed vocals that always just threatened to puncture the wall of sound and enter the audible). The first two cuts spell out subtle differences between then and now and provide the motifs that string the album together: “Hey Goodbye” is a homage that will no doubt wow mournful Loveless aficionados; “Never Underdose” plays treated guitar off of dulcimer in a shimmering minimalist Krautrock number. And in the tradition of the best sort of minimalism, few cuts contain a chorus, instead extending or dissovling into intricate and vibrant soundscapes (“You and New Plastic” and “Only the Bodies Survive”).
The rest of the tracks follow suit, with only one misstep. The final cut is an extended audio collage of phone messages and static that bleeds into an amateurish take on Cher’s “Believe.” (The relevant phrase has to be that they “phoned it in.”) An unfortunate finish to an album the legacy of which preceded itself. There was much to live up to, and with only this one miscue, Bedhead and Macha come up just shy of genius.
// Notes from the Road
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