Bedroom Walls – I Saw You Coming Back to Me

Bedroom Walls
I Saw You Coming Back to Me

On its debut album, LA’s Bedroom Walls offers nine tracks of deliberate, gently crafted songs and instrumentals that grab the listener in seconds. Bedroom Walls recognizes that affecting experimentation with melancholy is often better than musical schizophrenia. Moreover, the band has genuine appeal and captivating sounds throughout I Saw You Coming Back to Me.
Bedroom Walls describes its music as “romanticore.” Among other things, romanticore derives from “an unhealthy pre-occupation with staring blankly at the ceiling, guilty flashbacks, photos of dead pets, first kisses, losing friends, last kisses, knowing your ex-girlfriend is happier now, finding old love letters in a book you borrowed from your new boyfriend.” I especially like those last two elements of romanticore, as they reveal the sense of humor and sincerity that flow through I Saw You Coming Back to Me.
Vocalist and lead singer-songwriter Adam Goldman is joined by keyboardist/vocalist Melissa Thorne and drummer Julian Gross, both of whom left the band after the album was recorded. Producer Rafter Roberts also supports the cause on bass and additional percussion. “Do the Buildings and Cops Make You Smile?” offers a fatigued, catchy introduction to Bedroom Walls. Goldman alternates his vocal delivery from tired to curious, while tight drumming and somewhat discernable lyrics yield an appealing opener. On “Winter, That’s All,” Goldman runs with the lo-fi approach as he sings about changing seasons and moods.
The beats come down for “The Dog’s Life,” as Goldman trades hushed vocals with Thorne, and the result is a soft, amusing song. Undoubtedly, “More “Real Cats'” is the highlight of the album. Just over five minutes long, “More “Real Cats'” offers everything from excited keyboard riffs with tempered drum beats to Spanish trumpets and thrilling stop-gaps in the application of bass guitar. Guest trumpeter Jason Crane plays like he’s been listening to Tim Kellett with Vini Reilly on repeat, and we are the lucky recipients of the Durutti Column’s influence.
On “He to Whom Mercy Has Been Granted,” Goldman and Thorne share sparse vocals, while Gross and Rafter continue to provide beats that suck you into the track, even when it slows to a near stand-still. Chimes and louder drumming carry most of the song between beginning and concluding vocals. As a treat, there is a return to the deep keyboard sounds that make “More “Real Cats'” such a brilliant instrumental.
I Saw You Coming Back to Me closes with three tracks perfect for 4 a.m., while you’re talking with the stragglers among people who spent the last six hours partying in your apartment. Two almost complete instrumentals, “Landlord! Watch! Coffin! Angels!” and “Making Atoms Jump Like Trick Dogs,” follow Bedroom Walls’ earlier patterns, with the added bonus of spooky endings. On the album closer, “I’ve Been Thinking a Lot About Dots on the Wall,” Thorne speaks and pauses, as Goldman strums patiently. Thorne raises the volume with her keyboards, and Gross never enters the picture. This is bare-bones singing with charming lyrics that don’t sound contrived.
Bedroom Walls cites Richard Thompson, the Durutti Column, and Talk Talk as influences, but I suspect these Los Angelinos prefer later Talk Talk, as that trio’s earlier output seems too loud and synthetic by Bedroom Walls’ standards. It’s not easy to create measured, melancholic music that is expansive yet affecting, but Goldman and his mates have succeeded in this endeavor. I Saw You Coming Back to Me is an impressive debut by Bedroom Walls, especially if you like sincere, slow music that fits in an after-party atmosphere as well as it does during a cold sunset.