By Tanner Bidish, Visual Media Director
[Joy Void; 2018]
Key Tracks: “rainy time of year”, “(interlude)”, “‘outside the air is getting thinner, but…’”
Wrapped up in a blanket on Sunday morning while sipping hot tea, you’re looking out the window of your childhood bedroom. You don’t live here often now, but you’re here for the weekend. The sun’s out but so are the clouds – there’s rain on the way. Today you’ll see your friends again. You’ve always been in love with them.
The emotional resonance of everyday life is the essence that bedbug specializes in, and it’s in full force on their latest LP. i’ll count to heaven in years without seasons is full of strong sentiments. There’s a character in the melodies and choruses who are trapped in their nostalgia and lacks in confidence, but is also helplessly swept away with the romanticism of their friendships. Maybe all those feelings feed each other, like ouroboros of emotional turmoil. They want to grow up – they don’t know how. “I will get a job again I’ll stop doing all this teenage shit / You will never hear from me but you will be proud of me” (“lillies”). They want to feel happy, but it’s out of reach. “The kids don’t spend their time in this park anymore / Like they did when it was warmer / I did when I was warmer as well” (“autumn”). Through each tune, there’s sadness with comfort or happiness tinged with pain. In a mature, albeit sadistic way, bedbug captures how complex emotions are, and how ephemeral being young is.
Warmth is bleeding through the hums of this album. Acoustic guitar hums away with synth melodies and an assortment of sampled audio. It’s standard bedbug practice, but Dylan steps up their game by giving listeners poetry and even a rap interlude to cozy up to. The characteristic way Dylan mumbles through each song shines as more than a vocal pastiche. Their voice is authentically human, to a point of weakness.
Essentially, what i’ll count to heaven in years without seasons boils down to is every element warm-fuzzy cliche bedroom-pop has, but done poignantly and deliberately. Even the all lower-case spelling of title and track names speaks to the theme of smallness; of shrinking the space you occupy. Bedbug continues to do what many artists in the genre never quite understand – make purposeful choices.
This record is a true sequel to if i got smaller grew wings and flew away for good. bedbug exploits all the cliches, but never succumbs to them. They’ve made another stellar record to snuggle up with, and if you’re just a sucker for simple instruments with silly samples mixed over lo-fi cracks and quirks, then you just might fall in love.