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Boedekka | Hapi Nightmares (Things to Come)
We can only hope the name of this record label is prophetic in the case of Boedekka. If the standard of this release is anything to go by, then there shall surely be greater things to come from this gang. This debut mini-album was recorded with the aid of a four track, but with accomplished sounding results. Indeed, the minimal recording tools have not hampered the efforts of songwriters Fin Brown and Paul Freeman, as a multitude of instrumental ideas and arrangements flesh out their song structures. The eclectic use of sounds and instruments here (from melodica to Jew's-harp to treated synthesisers and back again) recalls the "whatever" experimentation of The Beta Band, but I don't quite recall Mason and co having such complete sounding songs and gorgeous melodies. Indeed the whole Boedekka project brings to mind a psychedelically inspired Lennon and McCartney jam session, produced by Joe Gibbs. A chaotic and dubby vibe infuses the recordings and psychotic production methods can be heard in the delayed drum clatter of the opening track Everything You Wanted and Need and in the stuttering vocals in the final collapsing moments of the radio friendly High Flyer. It seems that the members of the band are no strangers to marrying unconventional sounds to classic song structures. Indeed, listen to Paul Freeman's warped and stinging electric guitar soloing, the array of gut-wrenching sounds and textures that are coaxed from James Mathe's arsenal of synths, lead vocalist/bassist Fin Brown's prowling, fuzzy basslines and the distorted tribal thunder of Carl Alty's percussive prowess. I mean, one Mad Professor in a group is one thing...but four? Yet, beneath the arrangements lie the songs themselves. The plaintive It Doesn't Really Matter and the endearing Save Me demonstrate a firm grasp of the intricacies of the song-writing process that creates memorable songs and catchy melodies. It also seems that Boedekka are not afraid to build, build and build some more in order to lead a song to an extremely emotional conclusion. The guitar/vocal melody interplay of Stolen the Sun and the "If it has to take forever" coda of Everything You Ever Wanted and Need effortlessly assimilate a neat Hey Jude ethic into 2001. Hopefully this release is merely a taster for Boedekka, for if the strength of songs and imagination of arrangements on display here is anything to go by, then who knows what may happen if these boys were unleashed in an expensive recording studio...
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002