Saturday, July 22, 2006

No More Than 13 Bucks ....

Bedlam is a rock 'n' roll band along the same veins as Soul Asylum (though less whiny sounding) and REM (not as political). Do not mix them up with the '70's jam band Bedlam or the death metal band Bedlam, this is Jay Joyce's Bedlam circa 1992 (Jay Joyce is the singer and main songwriter). I have not spent more than $13 on this band and I bought "Into The Coals" 3 times (unfortunately none of it going to the band, but what can you do). It all started back in highschool in a bargain store called The Bargain Store ... (cough,cough) where I would browse their $0.50 cassette section for interesting bands and titles (ie Damien, Sword and Atomseed) and Bedlam was one of the dozen I would eventually purchase, and of all of them they were the best.

I would listen to it constantly to the point I was getting worried about wearing it out. The bargain store closed and I eventually bought a CD player, and I fretted that I would never find it on disc. Then years later I was in a Cash Converters (a glorified pawn shop) browsing through the used CD's and lo and behold! There it was Bedlam's "Into The Coals" $6 ... someone obviously had some real debt issues if they had to sell this gem for quick cash, but lucky for me! Again after numerous listens I would begin to worry about what I would do if this CD got scratched or lost (this being pre Ipod). Now we jump ahead a few more years to me browsing through yet another used CD store (and the bane of my wife's existence. She is a patient and understanding Lass, God bless her.) and again lo an behold! There it was Bedlam's "Into The Coals" a much better copy for $9.99! Now even the simplest of mathematically inept would notice the math problem here, so to finish this little tale, as I brought it to the counter to purchase, the owner of the store told me it was half price! Score! And that's the story of how I got into Bedlam. That's Bedlam circa 1992, not the Bedl .... ah you get the point ....

"Into The Coals" is simply a great rock album. Flat out rock anthems like the opening "Drink It Down" to songs "Madhouse", "Turning The Lights Out" and the album closer "Closing Time". The slower groove laden' tunes such as "Sunday to Sunday", "Freakshow", and "Upside down". And the ballads "Hiding Place", "Carnival Lights" and "Lucky". There is not a bad song on here.

"Drink It Down" hooks you in with a very catchy guitar strumming and sing along chorus and "Madhouse" has great rock riffs and a wickedly simple but cool effects laden guitar solo. "Just About Home" is a rocker with heart. It has an emotionally stirring bridge midway through that just tickles the heartstrings. Though I would not call Bedlam a Christian band, their song "Heaven" is upliftingly philosophical with lyrics like ~Me and Jesus got it all worked out, I ride shotgun when we go out ~. Ain't that the truth. And "Closing Time" appropriately closes the album off with some wailing solos and anthem-like vocals.

"Lucky" is an acoustic ballad finger picked with emotion and enhanced with some piano plunking. This is a down on your luck number that's played with a hopeful despair quality and a sense of realism, relatability. A beautiful piece and most like Soul Asylum.

And last but not least there is my favourite track "Carnival Lights". The guitar work is stirring and the lyrics wax nostalgic of years past hanging with friends at the local Midway on a warm summer night, of good times when life was simpler. The music is almost ambient in its subtlety yet invokes happy imagery.

Bedlam's "Into The Coals" does not break new ground, it is just solid rock 'n' roll with catchy riffs, nice hooks, and sing a long chorus's. The lyrics are obscure enough to be poetic, but thought provoking. Jay Joyce's vocals shine in your stereotypical raspy, breathy rock style. I can honestly say this is one of my all time favourite albums. And for the reasonable price of 13 bucks .... Sweet ...

2 Comments:

Blogger José Carlos Santos said...

i really liked reading this. i've enjoyed bedlam for a while, and i've never met anyone with this degree of appreciation for them. you've made me feel like listening to all their records in a row now. :)

4:51 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

oh how nice that you always managed to find them. how sweet how you speak of your wife. she sounds beyond lovely. glad that such enjoyment hasn't caused you an arm and a leg...

hope you are well. take care.

9:50 PM  

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