Live albums always take a risk, with production value and the comparison between recorded material and a live show crucial to the success or failure of such a unique release. Bedroom/Boredom have taken the risk, and you know what, I reckon they’ve gone and pulled it off.
Set opener ‘Chilly’, a song I’ve found very difficult to find anywhere online, is a great way to kick things off. It’s nice to have this first listen of the band live without anything I can compare it to, and this has made for a thoroughly enjoyable start to this review. Right from the off, credit must be given to both sound engineer and whoever has mixed/mastered this release. Vocals are clear, crisp, supported by a thudding backline, delightful snare-sound, with guitars shrieking and wailing and gliding around it all. As a live sound, it is genuinely enjoyable and impressive in equal measure. But how do Bedroom/Boredom actually perform live?
Vocally: Really, really impressive. It’s a husky, sultry vocal, that still maintains this uplifting presence throughout. Squeaks here and there add to the rawness, I’m even tempted to say that their frontman has the ability to pick and choose the moments to utilise them. This rawness is a game changer when to couple it with B/B’s live sound; it’s a playful indie-rock sound that sets itself apart with a vocal performance (especially noticeable in ‘Chilly’) that draws out more emotion than the majority of bands with a ‘similar’ sound. I say ‘similar’, but I’m probably unfairly grouping a great deal of indie bands together that don’t deserve to be. Bedroom/Boredom’s live sound sets them apart even with that unfair stereotype in place. Backing vocals cut through nicely in this live sound as well, adding a new layer to their live sound that has been captured perfectly at The Borderline.
A responsive crowd is always crucial to a great live album, and they shine through at the start of ‘Where’s Kelly’, hanging on every word of frontman Jack Collins, prompting a half embarrassed “Thank you” to the crowd.
The two saxophonists shine brightly throughout this track in particular, and it’s a welcome uniqueness to B/B’s live sound, to have these two brass additions in my ears. They help the song grow and swell with tact and a delicacy that isn’t often heard in live albums, especially a live album recorded in a small venue.
The crowd are now the 7th member, and for the rest of the set, through tracks ‘Shuteye’ and ‘Youthless’, they inject a familiarity and a friendly vibe that Bedroom/Boredom can feed off. Set-closer ‘Pill’ is perfectly placed, from the instant crowd backing vocals from the first chord, the atmospheric builds before each chorus, vocals that have every last ounce of effort injected into them, full of emotion, and still the production shines through, maintaining the ever-professional aspect to the release. This is thoroughly impressive, and a bold idea at that, but by releasing such a well performed and well produced live show for us all to listen to at our leisure, Bedroom/Boredom should find a whole host of new gig-goers at their feet, myself included.