It’s hard to believe it’s only been four months since I reviewed the debut release from Bedroom Sons, Father. Now the solo effort from Chris Dertz returns with a wildly different follow up called Take Your Time. The collection only contains four songs, but they’re a good length, so it doesn’t feel like you get shorted at all with the EP. It’s almost too much, really. Every song here is so full that you hardly have a chance to breathe and take it all in.
Immediately after clicking play on the first track, “Friends,” you forget everything you thought you knew about Bedroom Sons. The more experimental sound on Father is replaced by whirling guitars and post-punk drums and attitude. With just one release under his belt, Dertz comes out firing with all the confidence in the world. His lyrics are improved, his voice stronger, and because he plays all the instruments each one has the same swagger. Like all the songs on Take Your Time, “Friends” is a love song. This one is of the “Man vs. Himself”-type, as Dertz poses the question “How do you know if who you are is who you want to be? And if you know, do you have the strength to be the change you want to see? Or are you just too weak like me?”
The second track, “Won’t Stop,” really blew me away. Even after hearing the change in style on the first track, I wasn’t prepared for the summer anthem of the year to be on this record. I seriously heard this song and imagined sixteen year old me driving around in my ’91 Sunbird blaring this thing at full volume. It’s got everything I love-horns, guitar solos, screaming vocals, and a bit of a Rolling Stones feel that I can’t quite explain. The guitar work here is the best on the EP. It’s a blues/soul song, and the sad, longing guitar solo fits perfectly. It’s a song about loss and regret, and the words feel sincere and heartfelt:
that your loving, to me
is the only thing
i could possibly need
and i need it relentlessly
so don’t go just yet
give me one more breath
some time to reconnect
and if not, give me death
“Yours By Rights” is the most poppy piece of songwriting on the EP. It’s almost like, and forgive me for this, an old Barenaked Ladies song. There’s a lot more attitude in the song Bedroom Sons put out, of course, but that’s the first thing I thought of. The textured vocals in the chorus really make this song for me. “When everything in our lives is right, it’s all because you’re mine,” is Dertz trying endlessly to convince this former lover to return to him. It’s a sunny outlook, but on this EP everything that seems light has a dark side underneath.
The final song, “The Same Dream,” is the final plea offered by Dertz. On this song his voice and guitar style remind me a little of Chris Owens on the last Girls record. His words are hushed, almost indistinguishable for the first verse. As he’s singing he seems to be coming to terms with the fact that this may not end well. He even tells the one that left,
if god forbid you find a new man
i hope he can see you
in all the ways i know that i can
and love you just half as much as i do
The music explodes in fuzzy guitars a vocal wails in the chorus. Now a month after the breakup, our protagonist is still agonizing over his loss, unable to move on. Throughout the record Dertz does a good job of keeping this narrative going, with each song being the next step towards getting over the heartbreak.
Bedroom Sons have now delivered two impressive EP’s in a little over a year. The next step, I hope, is a full-length and some shows around the Chicago area. The progress made between last May and today are pretty astounding, and if he continues at this rate, I think a lot of people will be talking about him instead of just me. Give this EP a shot. It’s available on Bandcamp as a “Pay what you want” download. If you like it, also check out Father, which is $2.