Dennis Callaci
A Bed of Light [LP; Shrimper]

This is how Cerberus is supposed to work. I’ve never met Dennis Callaci (of indie legends Refrigerator), though I’ve admired his Shrimper label from afar for years upon years; now they’ve gone and garnered my address from an unknown benefactor (this all has a “Great Expectations” feel) and… well HERE WE ARE. A Bed of Light doesn’t represent yr average Cerbs material by any stretch. This is acoustic bliss with a sense of humor, the sort that Warren Zevon promised and has yet to deliver (I should research that more; I’ll get back to you.), the sort that wanders home from the bar pissed and feeling lots of… feelings. The Sebadoh draperies are no mistake, as Sebadoh sider Sentridoh has shown up on Shrimper before, and tunes like “Unlanding” offer that bare grit you expect from a friend of the Barlow family. What sets “Unlanding” apart from the rest of the otherwise-quality tunes on Side A is its soaring chorus and ‘let’s give it a shot; why not?’ attitude, coupled with the ability to sound lofi yet not lofi at the same time. That’s not easy. Side B, typically, is where I feel A Bed of Light hits its stride. “Arc of a Diver” hits a crazy aesthetic note, citing Phil Collins’ “I Can Feel it Coming In the Air Tonight” (you’ll have to listen to get it) and maybe, just maybe VU’s “Heroin” with a down-and-out, slooow-tempo, slacker-rock environment that makes you wonder why this cat never released a solo joint before. Oh yeah, Refrigerator; that’s a good reason, for sure. I don’t know why bands always put their “Arc of a Diver” on Side B. Stick this sucker at slot no. 3 on Side A and send it out as your first single, fer fugg’s sake. This is where Callaci truly opens up to the listener, or at least it seems the purest statement from an artistic standpoint, not an element out of place, not a tambourine tap too far or too shy. It’s poetry from a lofi pulpit, really, though Callaci seems to technically be singing hymns of non-redemption. When the strings take over it’s yet another A-HA moment that’s too fleeting yet perfect because it’ll keep you coming back. From there it’s cake. “Faultline” craters a bit with another lurching, sloth-like tempo and even more emotion in the vocals, boiling and roiling with the maxed-out (at times) accompaniment that cycles through a ton of fascinating sounds via jolting reams of guitar and piano. Once you get lost in “Faultline” and the like, it might be tough to find your way back to your typical vinyl/cassette experience. A Bed of Light is rough around the edges but more savory than you might even realize at first, succulent when its spirit rises above the compositions and rains down like a fiery, drunken devil casting evil down to earth. Or, you know, something like that.

Links: Shrimper


Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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