I don’t even remember how long it’s been since Bedroom Sons emailed me a link to this record. The first time I listened to it I thought it was ok, but it didn’t really hit me the way I like a record to. I did really like the last song on the EP, “My Blood pt 3” and I sent that one to my friends at The Snake. They also enjoyed it, and I set up a digital release of that song as a single. After that, I just kinda moved on without thinking about it. Then about a week ago I got some news that reminded me that I should review this EP before another one comes out.
The first song kicks off with some soft and sweet singing about a lake in Michigan before it snaps off in a new direction with a drum fill and the voice of Chris Dertz. The vocals that Dertz performs on Father are really the bedrock of the whole thing. He sounds a little like Conor Oberst, and there’s a lot of anger and passion in his delivery. The guitar playing also plays a part in creating the sound of this song, with Dertz not playing so much as attacking the instrument. There’s a vicious bit of frenetic starting and stopping on the strings that gives a panicked sound to the recording.
On “My Blood pt 2” Dertz fashions my favorite lyric from the 4 songs collected here: “I know how you are heated my blood boils all the time, but to lash out at your brother, well that’s just like a son of mine.” On this one the instrumentation is pretty much left behind in favor of vocal loops. It’s a very odd song, but compelling all the same. The lone guitar playing for the last part of the songs is quite nice and gives it a bit of an epilogue that a lot of people wouldn’t think to include.
“Frozen To The Bone” might be the most quiet song, but it’s not for a lack of crashing guitars. Most of the song is just a straightforward folk song with guitar and harmonica. When you’re least expecting it there’s an explosion of sound as Dertz screams “So I tried, to run away from the pain I fell on the ice, and he picked me up and threw me like a stone.” The dynamic of soft and hard, loud and quiet is a constant one on Father. It’s used to great effect and never feels forced.
The final track, “My Blood pt 3,” I’ve already mentioned. Let me be a little more clear about why I thought that one would be a great single. It’s completely different from the rest of the songs, but also the same. It takes all the best things about the other three songs, and packages it in a way that tells you everything you need to know about the record. It’s got bluegrass and country influences, but also Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire can be heard in there.
Bedroom Sons records out of DeKalb, IL and plays around the Chicago area. On record, Dertz plays all the instruments and sings-with the exception of the horn on “My Blood pt 1.” He’s a talented musician, a gifted songwriter, and from what I can tell a pretty nice guy. Father is available for download right now on Bandcamp for the very fair price of FREE. It is definitely recommended that you check it out.