I saw BDRMM a few weeks ago supporting Echo Ladies at London’s Shacklewell Arms, promoted by the excellent Bad Vibrations. BDRMM may have been the second band on the bill but their outstanding performance proved why you should always watch the support acts. They were full-tilt committed from start to finish with every member straining against a gale-force wind that only they were experiencing. Hull based BDRMM are Ryan Smith (lead vocals, guitar), his brother Jordan Smith (Bass), Joe Vickers (Guitar), Daniel Hull (Synth & Backing Vocals) and Luke Irvin (Drums) and this single (taken from the forthcoming If Not, When? EP) was produced by Alex Greaves who has worked with, amongst others, The Orielles.
‘Shame’ may lyrically be a song about “the heartache of having to tell someone you care about the most that being together can’t work, for whatever reason” it’s the sound of this track that’s the real star. It has the feeling of a sonic train journey and you’re staring out of the window; sometimes you see only the darkness of a tunnel or a view obscured by buildings or trees but then those exhilarating moments when you get an amazing view and the accompanying dopamine hit from a welcome slap of sunshine. The opening is a simple guitar riff over gated drums and moody synth before the bass and a second guitar come in and then you are hit full in the face with a midday sun of blistering guitar. It’s the guitars that lift this track, never showy, just perfectly aligned with the song and never dominating the vocals which are a slow-staccato of spoken, rather than sung, lines. The overall mood is that of a cracking mash-up of the best Cure and Pet Shop Boys songs. Towards the end there’s a tuneful ‘solo’ that flies seamlessly back to a refrain of the blister-guitar before the train slows down and arrives at its destination. And like the best train journeys you just want to stay on and do it all over again.
Based on this single and their exceptional live show I would say BDRMM are a band to watch. I would strongly advise going to see them now so that when they headline Glastonbury in two years’ time you can casually drop into conversation: “Oh yeah, BDRMM, I saw them back in 2019 at [INSERT SMALL VENUE NAME HERE]. I always knew they were going to be huge.” And remember it was your old pal Joyzine who clued you in.
Review by Paul F Cook