Album: bedbug – pack your bags the sun is growing

Pack your bags the sun is growing came out on March 15th, so this is a late to the party write-up in some ways. Not that these songs haven’t found a welcome home in my heart for these past few months. It’s a beautiful, heartfelt, complicated record that Disposable America has kindly sent forth to find new friends in this often unfriendly world. The first new work from bedbug in close to four years, it’s also a conscious distancing from former bedroom-pop associations, with Dylan Gamez Citron opting for a full live band combo- and all the interpolated urgency that can lend. Described as ‘an unashamed love letter to indie rock greats like Built to Spill, Cap’n Jazz, Modest Mouse, and Broken Social Scene,’ there is a certain deliberacy in experimenting with what a band, not to mention a recording studio, can provide. That said, these songs can’t shake certain lo-fi, four-track intimacies; bedbug hasn’t fully left the bedroom behind and these songs are all the better for those dichotomous sonic pulls.  The lyrics are both direct and surreal-  offering oddly poignant sentiments in their collision of images and details. They will draw you in. 

The city lights begins it all with carefully picked, looping guitars and yearning, stretched vocals that are both intimate and emotive. There are brushy atmospheres that gradually build before a sudden burst of rhythmic energy kicks in. There is an almost imperceptible waver to the guitars that shift subtly (almost secretively) in nostalgic shimmers. This is, as they state, ‘indie rock by the indie rock band’ but in the song’s quieter moments, and in the close vocals, there is still that solipsistic insularity of the home recorder. 

Halo on the interstate follows and is utterly mesmerising – stripped back and delicate at times with imagery that shimmers with reflective luminescence and lines filled with strange sadness. 

“…you’ll find a new home in the mountains 
where the winter never ends… “

It’s as if they are toying with concepts of the band dynamic at times- the need for quiet/loud opposites and shifting pace to be a living presence- where no moment of calm is left to rest too long. This gives everything a fractured but enriching energy and when that cello rolls in its spine-tingly wonderful. These sudden punky explosions and the voice catching and breaking pushes things in a searing, seething direction. But there is always some new arresting detail that leads the heart and mind down new avenues. Case in point are the great bonfire’s unsettling soundscapes that draw the song to its conclusion. 

Leave your things, the stars are returning is a woven thing – full of charm and romance, the scattering, almost experimental, drum work adding avant-guard fracture to the image-rich vocals. The way that the Violent Femmes would allow melody to stretch and strain feels like a reference point here. Again they toy with juxtaposed dynamics. teasing the listener with lo-fi, bedroom folk shimmer and static, before that massed, screaming, propulsive conclusion. This band can certainly clatter and boom when they want to, everything tight but loose as they set these songs into explosive motion. 

The delicate, double-tracked singing on seasons on the new coast capture frangible yet yearning melodies which are full of a faded but still youthful wistfulness. I love these quieter moments; they feel conspiratorial and clandestine. mount moon is another hypnotic departure, rich in detail that swirls and reverberates through my headphones, the repetitive undulating synth line and strange spectral moans – that pan in and out- are rich in associations of loss and memory; the spoken word sample feels almost too intimate. 

Love and longing permeates things in eccentric ways. new kind of stars is case in point – the lyrical intimacy further enhanced by that flute-like synth line that occasionally invades and unsettles. 

“I still think of you all the time even when i can’t seem to think about anything at all”

Once you have listened to this album, it will not leave you; it will rest in a curious and kaleidoscopic corner of your mind, waiting – steadfast – for you to return to, and you will return. What a beautiful thing it is! 

Written by M.A Welsh (Misophone)