Imagine, if you will, what music might sound like if it were made by Matthew Sweet, Björk, Neil Young and the ghost of Kurt Cobain. Imagine no more! That’s pretty much what Ottawa, Canada’s Heavy Bedroom sounds exactly like on their debut release, the I Saw An End EP. What a mesmeric mixture! So who is Heavy Bedroom? Well, the group consists of two members — Alex Maltby and Tyler Goodman –– of Ottawa’s Roberta Bondar (an outfit that is now being forced to change its moniker because it’s named after a Canadian astronaut, who wasn’t overly amused at the confusion that could result). While this might be the last music we heard from Heavy Bedroom for a while — the group is going on a full-band hiatus while Maltby moves to Spain to continue performing as Heavy Bedroom from there — my Gosh, what a lasting impression this EP makes. From start to finish, the six songs that comprise I Saw An End offer no wasted space, no emotion left unturned, and essentially makes the argument that some of the very best music in the country of Canada is not being made in the bustling metropolises of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.
The EP opens up with the sound of a dissonant hum that gives way to the gentle and dare I say bedroom sounds of the thunderous indie rock cadence of “Hell Is Not”. From there, things get even more jarring: “The Sun and Its Glare” is nearly three minutes of clashing instrumental quasi-post rock, but even though it’s a cacophony of noise, it swirls around the listener, enveloping him or her in a blanket of appealing feedback and fuzz. “I Ate Apples” is the most obvert nod to Neil Young on the entire album, although “countrified” is not really a proper adjective to toss around — it simply slowly rocks out like kindling catching the flame of a match. “The Well” is by turns stark, haunting and eerie, showcasing Heavy Bedroom’s ability to be experimental without being unapproachable. The title track shows the band marrying the vocal style of Björk with the low-key nature of early 2000s-era Yo La Tengo. Finally, “I Left It” is a lurching number that clangs and bangs like Tom Waits joining forces with Tortoise. If, by now, you have no idea what makes this band so unique, I suggest you wander over to Heavy Bedroom’s Bandcamp page and download this sucker. By turns compelling and broadly reaching, not only is I Saw An End among the top of the heap of albums to come out of Canada this year, it should rightly take its place as special in the community of the world’s music. Spain, you don’t know what’s about to hit ya. This is outstanding.