bdrmm // I Don’t Know // Album Review


BDRMMs new album, ‘I Don’t Know’ starts off more like an EDM deep house track than a traditional shoegaze album. Although there’s always been that crossover between electronic music and shoegaze, as heavily evidenced on Primal Screams ‘Exterminator’. ‘Alps’ takes this to the extreme and it’s not until halfway through the track that the vocals come in backed by shimmering guitars, solar flare synths and pulsing rhythms. It’s an exciting blend of contemporary sounds and classic gaze elements. The second track ‘Be Careful’ takes the tempo and tension down offering up beautiful ambient textured sounds with Ryan Smith’s vocals floating along, they sound sweet and reassuring but like they’re carrying a warning. In the last minute of the track, it starts to open up and slow swathes of guitars and synths start to fill the sonic space. It’s a beautiful track.

‘It’s Just a Bit of Blood’ moves and changes, shifting shape from musical movement to musical movement. Evoking different feelings with each from tense Eraserhead noise anxiety to blissful euphoria. There’s more than a little influence from Mr Yorke and Greenwood on here, from the riff to the melody, but to reduce the track to a comparison would be unfair. The electronic elements that creep in are tasteful and add welcome colour and texture to the song.

At track 4 we are already at the halfway mark. ‘We Fall Apart’ is a slow burn full of ear candy in the mix. There’s still a pulse and drive to the track, it’s the sound of a band confident in their songwriting and not rushing to a crushing crescendo. There’s a mantra-like feel to the song, hypnotic and trance-inducing. Lyrically the track speaks of difficult times in staying together and pushing through against the odds.

Instrumental track ‘Advertisement One’ beautifully employs a multitude of choral, shimmering synths and guitar pedals to create a beautiful cacophony of sound that feels like it’s wrapping itself around you. Enveloping you to carry you away to somewhere safe. ‘Hidden Cinema’ is an honest admission of personal imperfections and failures. Musically, layers and sounds rise and fall throughout, it’s like being swept along by an ever-quickening current.

The penultimate track ‘Pulling Stitches’ opens with some fuzz, reverb and trem arm abuse that gives way to a verse that’s punctuated by electronic pulses, adding an additional rhythmic counterpoint to the track that elevates the verse from a more traditional shoegaze sound into something new and fresh. ‘Pulling Stitches’ will satiate the thirst of any shoegazers longing for the noisier end of things.The album closes with ‘A Final Movement’, clocking in at 8:08 its by far the longest track on the album. It’s expansive and cinematic, bit by bit opening up more and more to let us in. It never reaches a pummelling crescendo and there’s a beauty in that, it builds without ever crushing.

The album is ambitious in its approach to blending electronic sounds with more traditional shoegaze totems and in doing so produces something fresh and exciting. Plenty of influences run throughout the album from krautrock/pop to the omnipresent hand of Brian Eno, but it never feels derivative or like a pale impression. Instead BDRMM bring something new to the table and have created something inspiring and new.

The band are on tour in the UK throughout November, and you can count on it that I’ll be at one of the shows.


Review: Michael Smyth


I Don’t Know

Release date: Friday, June 30th 2023

 1. Alps
 2. Be Careful
 3. It’s Just A Bit Of Blood
 4. We Fall Apart
 5. Advertisement One
 6. Hidden Cinema
 7. Pulling Stitches
 8. A Final Movement

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