Bedhead Transaction De Novo

[Trance; 1998]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: indie rock, slowcore
Others: The New Year, Death Cab for Cutie

Imagine yourself driving really late at night on a dark highway. The only thing you can see is the small stretch of road ahead illuminated by your headlights. No destination. No hurry. No pressure. Great mood. You have a need for a soundtrack that will capture this moment as you stumble upon Bedhead's Transaction De Novo

Allow me to be blunt, Transaction De Novo is a great album. What makes a great album? A good album will usually have stunning lyrics (if any), exceptional songwriting and musicianship tighter than Isaac Hanson's braces. But then there are great albums with that extra special constituent that nobody can quite put their finger on. These albums give you the craving to listen to them all the time, and despite what mood you are in, a great album will provide you a sanctum to just sit and be alive.

Album opener "Exhume" is the perfect example of the hypnotic magic within Bedhead. The song starts with a lonely melodic bass followed by the sweetest guitar line you will ever derive pleasure from. Both continue while a second guitar and bells modestly add more texture to the song. It continues to build, leading up to a quiet, shaky Matt Kudane singing a somber melody. Several other songs take advantage of that exponential structure, slow dramatic buildups and minimal guitar work teasing the listener into a wonderful euphoria.

Transaction De Novo is definitely Bedhead's most earnest release. There is much less distortion and instrumental chaos and more emphasis on concentrated song structures with plaintive, hummable melodies. There are moments on the album where the variety is a bit distracting, though. The first four songs sweep you away with the "less is more" approach, but fifth track "Extramundane" serves as a moderate rocker that provides a slight jerk in the flow of the album. "Psychosomatica" is another awkward hurdle the listener must clear before reaching the exquisite 7-minute closer, "The Present."

Despite these extremely minute imperfections, Transaction De Novo proves itself to be one of the most intimate and lush albums ever to grace indie ears. It acts as the album that crowns Bedhead's reign as kings and founders of slowcore and should politely nudge itself into your regular cd rotation.

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