It’s strange that the latest album by Mother McKenzie (aka Wyatt McKenzie and friends) should be called Bedroom Music. After all, the previous record, 2008’s Cloudless, had much more of a raw, From a Basement on the Hill feel than this release, ostensibly McKenzie’s first with a proper producer.
- Mother McKenzie
- Beyond the Weekly
- Mother McKenzie on MySpace
Bedroom Music essentially deepens, broadens and streamlines the Bright Eyes-y alt-country tunes McKenzie fashioned on Cloudless, an album that helped him gain a kind of legendary status in local music circles, particularly due to his age. (He’s 21 now, a fact McKenzie mocks on this record’s closing track.) On Bedroom, McKenzie’s youth sometimes exposes his inexperience as an artist. In “You in the Gutter and Me,” his description of a friend’s suffering—“You cried, ‘I am human, I exist/And I puke and I piss’”—sounds more like the scream scene from Garden State than an authentic moment in time.
Still, it’s his precocious moments that hook you: the bold inclination to turn “Beautiful Cage” into a waltz with accordion and xylophone, and his proclamation that “Baby, I’m a tree stripped of its leaves/Waiting for the spring to come and change me” (from the soft, timeless “Can’t Give You Shelter”). In the end, he’s just growing, and his audience is growing with him.