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BEDHEAD are not from Portland, but fans of weepycore will still find the band an exquisitely unhappy dream come true. Their latest effort, Beheaded (Trance Syndicate), presents the Dallas group as a study in melodramatic understatement. Three guitars are needed to emphasize the restraint of their minimalism, and their delicately interlocked plucking Is only occasionally disturbed by a cymbal crash. Cosongwriter Matt Kadane, who resembles a young Jerry Garcia, sings more like a '90s version of Perry Como, mumbling sleepily as if from under the covers. Being in bed is the metaphor most favored by the lyrics.

Beheaded is an oddly arid and precise album for being so depressed. Most indie-rock signifiers of angst are dispensed with: no atmospheric tape hiss, no conspicuous use of the word "fuck," no urgency whatsoever. The emotions that do fill the album - desire, doubt, confusion - feel travel-weary; no longer struggled with, they've been respectfully, wholly surrendered to. The result is an eviscerated yet tranquil sound. Bedhead's solemnity can at times grow cloying (besides the mortician's quiet vocals, there's the eternity-long sustained final notes), but these few ponderous touches are far overshadowed by the hauntingly lucid melodies, coiling and engulfing with the power of a truly fatal seduction. Wounded souls browsing fur music to commiserate with might find that Bedhead offers the most satisfying embrace, but one so tightly sympathetic It'll make you anxious about ever breaking free.


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Author:Relyea, Lane
Publication:Artforum International
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Oct 1, 1996
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