In a new series called Sounds Northern, Paul Davies shines a spotlight on Northern musicians and bands to watch out for. This week it’s bdrmm.
Hull band bdrmm were formed as 2016 became 2017, which is apt as their music has a late-night feel and emulates those end-of year emotions by simultaneously looking back nostalgically at the past while also looking forward.
Before then it was just a solo project from singer/guitarist Ryan Smith with initial songs being lo-fi phone recordings. This may have been perfect for their self-labelled ‘ugly pop’ but the addition of his brother Jordan on bass, Joe Vickers (guitar), Daniel Hull (synth and backing vocals) and Aaron Moreton (drums) has enhanced their sound beyond this.
There’s an additional gloss from Forever Cult bassist, Alex Greaves, who helps on production duties. This has seen them gain more widespread attention with radio play on BBC Radio 1 and a recent support slot with Trudy and the Romance.
Their debut single Kare was released in March and is somehow both simple and epic, with one foot in the 90s and the other entrenched in DIIV or Beach House vibes. The lyrics are minimal but nevertheless embody the frustrations of communication in the modern age (“If I stay would you even care / If I leave would you even care”).
Follow-up single The Way I Want has a summerier shoegaze sound, again focusing on the theme of communication and having unwanted attention. There’s an element of pathos in the delivery of the chorus (“Two missed calls, everybody seems to want me but not in the way I want”) yet the tale behind it reveals an admirable coping strategy.
And there lies the beauty of bdrmm. Despite the newfound fuller sound and dreaminess in the production, the new songs are still understated, capturing that rawness of emotion and vulnerability and delivered with a down-to-earth realism.
They’ve just been in the studio recording for their debut EP which is set to be released later in the year.