Following a several-odd year nadir for Northern Irish music, it looks once more like there’s an emergent wave of genuinely interesting Northern acts influenced by a whole new set of cult favourites. BDBR is a bedroom project and the pseudonym under which singer-songwriter Ryan Mills operates, armed only with his telecaster, pedalboard and back-of-the-throat vocal tones. So far, he’s got a five track EP of demos so far, none of which reach the 3 minute mark, recorded in his bedroom and mixed by Robocobra Quartet’s Chris Ryan.
His sound, he tells us “came around through trial and error and playing hermit”. Musically, it’s most obviously macerated in a lo-fi Mac Demarco-esque slacker pop sensibility, but there’s an underlying sentiment, a sensitive vulnerability in his delivery that’s altogether less quantifiable than the signature ‘verb-drenched vocals and twangy, effects-laden guitar melodies. Understandably then, Mills’ songwriting is spontaneous, having “turned out to be pretty reverse, recording the songs in the moment then actually rehearsing them after”.
“I’ve always wanted it to be a three piece, with rhythm to shake a few people”, Mills says of the idea to expand the project, but is in no rush. “Less is more, but sometimes more isn’t enough”. It’s that undercurrent, reminiscent of Elliott Smith at his least produced that renders Brown Dog Black Rake more than just ‘A E S T H E T I C’, which really just functions as artifice. Wrapped up in an indiewave aesthetic, it’s cool and it’s current, but more importantly, it’s good. Stevie Lennox
Photo by Dalyce Wilson