Bdrmm are one of Britain’s best-kept musical secrets – but potentially not for much longer. The Hull band have been working, refining and building their sound since 2018’s debut single ‘Kare’ and it culminated in 2020’s superb debut ‘Bedroom’, which NME called a “modern shoegaze classic” in a five-star review. They’re now beloved in the UK’s independent music scene, proof that talent, graft and kindness can win over; shoegaze legends Ride and Scotland’s post-rockers Mogwai have raved about and helped guide the group.
Signing to Mogwai’s label Rock Action is a smart move, and surely plays a key part of the success of album two, ‘I Don’t Know’. Following their debut’s explosion, major labels came sniffing and attempted to to change and market the band in new ways: ‘fuck that’, the four-piece responded. Their response was to put that faith into themselves, and double down on what makes them special.
‘I Don’t Know’ is everything you could hope for. At no point does it sound like they’ve buckled under pressure, instead using encouragement from Mogwai and their fans to go deeper into the well and into their creative palette. Speaking to NME, they say that the response to 2022’s standalone single ‘Port’ and ‘Three’, which dabble in electronica, “was really inspiring” and informed their decisions to push on in that direction. When was the last time you heard a band getting such encouraging feedback from fans and then being able to realise it?
‘Alps’ sees that electronic influence most blatantly, channelling Thom Yorke’s solo material into something that bridges the old with the new. ‘It’s Just A Bit of Blood’s ferocity and angst has more in common with Yorke’s The Smile, as does ‘Be Careful’. There’s hints of DIIV elsewhere, but the conviction in their sound means that ‘Advertisement One’, for example, blossoms majestically, fusing a serene ambient soundscape with a sturdier framework in the latter half – it is sublime.
Where their debut was dark and informed by the early-20s malaise (no wonder it chimed well in COVID’s lost years), ‘I Don’t Know’ shows glimmers of hope. ‘It’s Just A Bit Of Blood’ blooms with subtle optimsm (“Now that we have finally found ourselves/I hope we can become something else”), as does ‘Pulling Stitches’ (“A new start is on my mind”). Frontman Ryan Smith has bristled at having his vocals described as “effortless” in the past, but his precision only makes what he says more potent. This is a special record by a band who are not-so-quietly raising the bar for the whole British scene.
- Release date: June 29, 2023
- Record label: Rock Action