You don’t have to be a Dudeist Priest to accept the fact that The Big Lebowski is rightfully one of the best cult movies ever made. The Big Lebowski is great on many levels, but most of all its terribly hilarious. The Belgian hard rock band The Porn Bloopers (consisting of Yannick Aerts, Stijn Boels, Arne Omloop and Noah Melis) would fully agree to this because a few years ago they decided to concurrently to change their style and band name. Musically they chose a more retro path towards sixties and seventies psychedelics pop. Also they changed their band name into Bed Rugs, as an ode to the pissed on rug that is regularly discussed in the movie. Without any doubt all of this would be much appreciated by The Dude. Bed Rugs ‘debuted’ with 8th Cloud in 2012 and blended the aforementioned psychedelics with a flavor of nineties indie rock. 8th Cloud was successful on a small scale. During the last months of 2012 the band withdraw themselves to an abandoned church to record a follow up EP. Businesswise this is a smart move because sixties psychedelics is once again hot among the public. However, today bands such as Deerhunter, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tama Impala and Jacco Gardner dominated this genre. With Rapids, Bed Rugs tries to grasp a piece of this cake.
Before reviewing the album itself, Rapids cover art deserves a compliment. Sarah Yu Zeebroek, daughter of the Flemish artist Kamagurka, created a colorful and fresh cover in which minutiously various pastels are nicely contrasted. Zeebroek ultimately presents an otherworldly pink room that filled with eyes in a skyward position that slightly reminds me of the work of Chad VanGaalen. It almost goes without saying that this cover art matched the atmosphere of the EP’s contents. Rapids counts six tracks and is over in a meager twenty minutes. As short as this may be Rapids is a cozy trip into laziness. The sound of Rapids is heavily influenced by Paul Butler of The Bees. This band is famous for their layered laid-back and rooted sound on Sunshine Hit Me (2002) and Free The Bees (2004). Butler’s mark from this phase is clearly hearable on Rapids. The tracks Yawn, Wave and Tell are almost inseparable from the work of The Bees. The echoing guitar play and the harmonious choruses will soften up your state of mind and take you back to a time in which The Beach Boys and The Beatles called the shots. Two tracks are slightly different from the rest, title track Rapids is an instrumental flirt with the previous Wave and is for this reason less interesting. Blinds however is a quick return to the catchy indie rock from a few decades ago. Lethargy is replaced with up tempo and well coordinated guitar rock that resembles Nada Surf, Teenage Fanclub and The Lemonheads.
On its own the Rapids EP is a very nice piece of music to chill with. Of course it works best when summer is at its hottest and twilight sets in. So if you’re interested I strongly advice you buy it while the summers still lasts. If Rapids is put into broader context there is much less to be enthusiastic about. Rapids lacks originality and is primarily a product of al lot of styles we heard before. Indeed this doesn’t need to be a problem. Many artists and bands open up the archives of old to inspire themselves to created something new. In my opinion the real problem of Rapids is the absence of an own identity, Bed Rugs mostly repeats what other contemporary psychedelic bands have been doing for quite some time now. I believe that fans of psychedelic music will see trough this rationale and therefore this release will not impress the larger share. On the other hand Bed Rugs proves to be a band with a love for fine pop songs from the sixties and seventies. This love is well heard throughout the album and is able to make an already great summer even better. And what the heck, I’ll add the Rugs to my Dudeism playlist just to be sure.
Label: Waste My Records
1. Daydream (1:12)
2. Yawn (2:50)
3. Wave (3:48)
4. Rapids (2:04)
5. Blinds (5:40)
6. Tell (8:00)
Review by Wander Meulemans // VOR120813