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Sea Change

The Bedroom Heroes
Sea Change
(Swim Slowly Records)

I've been to MP3.com before and it's intimidating. There is simply so much music there that it's almost impossible to know where to start. It doesn't help that about 80% of the music that you decide to download ends up hardly being worth the time spent retrieving it. For all the help that MP3 technology has been in spreading the word of smaller artists, it's also given everyone with a computer the chance to put their music out there, and while that's still a good thing in my book, it creates a glut that's hard to wade through.

Fortunately, there are bands like the Bedroom Heroes who creep out of the woodwork every once in awhile and remind you that hopefully this whole internet thing can work in getting the word out on lesser-known groups. While they're really not doing anything surprisingly new, the group has put together a solid debut with Sea Change. Blending different influences (sometimes worn directly on the sleeve) like Radiohead and Sunny Day Real Estate, the group mixes melodic guitars and soaring vocals. They're not quite emo, they never really rock out, and they're a little more earthy feeling than most indie groups, but in 10 songs and almost an hours time they definitely work a pleasant feel.

The album opens with the almost 8 minute track of "June (Call Us Waiting)" and with it one gets a good idea of what the band is about. With almost marching drums and some nice guitars (backed up with occassional keyboards), the track goes through several different sections (some quieter and slower, before building up) while singer Ryland Bouchard sings along and croons in a Yorke-esque falsetto at some points. "Second Hand" starts out with some lovely, shimmering guitars before again building up to a louder finish.

If I have one complaint, it's that some of the tracks on the release start to sound a little too similar at points, but fortunately they help keep things a little more changed-up with the addition of a viola on tracks "Embers & The Night After" and with the very nice instrumental interlude of "The Tempest." At an average of almost 6 minutes per track, things could have also been tightened up in a few places as well and made a little more interesting, but for the most part it's nice to hear the band play with different ideas and keep things more on the loose side rather than get too darn precise. Although I appreciate the value of a good, short pop song, I've always been a fan of sprawling works as well. The group shows yet another layer closing out the album with the quiet drones of "End Song," and it makes me wonder what they'll be up to next. A very nice debut by a lesser-known band.

Rating: 6.75