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Mother McKenzie

Bedroom Music

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Mother McKenzie, Bedroom Music
Jeremy Adams

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.

The Details

Mother McKenzie
Three stars
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.

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