Transaction de Novo

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AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush

Bedhead was a quintessential indie rock band. What distinguished the group, however, was the way it combined the genre's modest ambitions with careful song construction and rock & roll's sense of grand dynamic excitement. There are no complex structures, highly expressive vocalists, or thrilling improvisations on a Bedhead album, but there is the music of a band exceptional at its particular craft. There is often an exquisite buildup in a Bedhead song. On Transaction de Novo the group achieves this both in each song's internal structure and externally as the album progresses. The short "Exhume" steps lightly through typically low-key vocals, a melodic bassline, and a chiming melody. "More Than Ever" follows, entering with lazy drum hits. Bedhead makes every note count and, consequently, a few notes can mean a great deal. Here, the band sketches the melody with minimal guitar; it's the less-is-more approach at its most convincing. "More Than Ever" builds at a relaxed pace only to pull back as its last note is struck. "Parade" creates more anticipation, then delivers with a glorious release. On Transaction, tightly controlled bursts always fit each song's progression, and there is no sense of indie kids toying with noise in the guise of creating a confrontational sound. Bedhead only begins to lose potency on the forceful assault of "Psychosomatica"; few of the group's strengths are evident as the song pounds forward with slices of overdriven guitar.

Bedhead used simple elements, making Transaction de Novo seem effortless, yet when a band like this comes along, there is no denying how special it is. This was the quintessential indie rock band because it delivered some of the best the genre is capable of: workaday vocals that actually work, gorgeous melodies (though uncommercial, this music doesn't have to be indigestible), and dynamics that could crush the listener. Unfortunately, Bedhead broke up shortly after Transaction de Novo, though it's hard to imagine the group perfecting this sound much further.

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