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Rexford Bedlo - Rexford Bedlo

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 18 / 6 / 2014



Rexford Bedlo - Rexford Bedlo
Label: Wisdom Twin Books
Format: CD

intro

Haunting debut album of 60’s and 70’s–influenced folk and rock from Rexford Bedlo, the new band of Dodson and Fogg’s Chris Wade and his brother Andy Wade


Hot on the heels of ‘After the Fall’, the latest instalment in Chris Wade’s Dodson & Fogg project, comes a collaboration with brother Andy who has also released albums under his own name and as Failing Atlantic. Chris and Andy split the twelve tracks equally, but even without the writers credits listed on the sleeve it’s immediately obvious which Wade wrote a particular song. ‘Hold On’ which opens proceedings does have a certain Dodson & Fogg sound, but Andy’s vocals are far removed from Chris’s dreamy almost spaced-out vocal style and, although still flying the flag for seventies inspired folk/rock, tend to have a harder edge. There’s less of the mellowness that informs Chris’s songs; more of a rockier stance and the psychedelia that colours much of Chris’s work is buried deeper in Andy’s songs. We’re not the only ones who have been mightily impressed with Chris Wade’s work as Dodson & Fogg; the multi instrumentalist has released five albums over a two year period without a drop in quality, each set featuring and expanding on Chris’s unique take on acid folk/ prog rock/ psych…call it what you will. At the end of the day each and every one of Dodson & Fogg’s albums is compelling listening. Chris’s songs on ‘Rexford Bedlo’ are not too dissimilar to his Dodson & Fogg project. His songs on this collection have a slightly raw feel about them like they were recorded quickly and without some of the embellishments that have helped to make Chris’s previous songs so captivating. But even Chris’s out takes (try and hear the album of out takes from his ‘After the Fall’ sessions) offer more than any of his contemporaries lavishly produced and overhyped albums do, and the six tracks Chris contributes to this side-project certainly match any song from his Dodson & Fogg albums. ‘On and On’ is the first Chris Wade song on ‘Rexford Bedlo’ and, while there’s no doubt that here’s that trademark dreamy Chris Wade sound brother Andy’s backing vocals are more than just accompaniment, being distant but still so incredibly close, you can feel his presence in the room they bring an almost chilling effect to the song. ‘Life’s a River’ is another Chris Wade song where Andy’s only contribution is the bass guitar as Chris handles all the guitars and vocals, but still the listener is left with the impression that Andy’s presence has added extra weight to Chris’s vocals and certainly to the sparse production and instantaneous vibe the song displays. ‘I Will Be Here for You’, another of Chris’s tracks, features his brilliant, fluid guitar playing, and once again Andy’s contribution of bass and brilliantly affecting background vocals bring much to the song. The electric guitar embellishments that Andy brings to Chris’s touching instrumental ‘Lily’s Lullaby’ are masterful, the thoughts that maybe these songs were put down quickly to capture a moment can’t really apply to this song; what appears to be a gentle, soothing lullaby to Chris’s new born daughter is really one of the most infectious pieces of music that you’ll ever hear, and Chris and Andy simply must have put in hours of work to create such a beautiful piece. As for Andy Wade’s songs; this writer never thought he’d see the day where he’d have to admit that an album that bore Chris Wade’s name actually had at least a couple of non-Chris songs that matched and even possibly surpassed some of his work. ‘Everybody Loves You’ is a banjo drenched killer of a song written by Andy that alone proves that Chris isn’t the only immensely talented member of that family. It’s a Friday night sing-along that like much of Chris’s work has its roots set firmly in the folk sounds of the seventies, with every sound on the song provided by Andy except for the bass courtesy of Chris it almost stopped this writer from reaching the end of the album as it was repeated so many times. Andy’s vocals on this track do that trick of reminding you of another artist but try as you might you just can’t place it. It’s no fluke either.‘Take Your Breath Away’, another song from Andy, benefits from Chris’s distinctive electric guitar but brings darker elements to the album than Chris’s songs do, while not losing any of the melodic skills Chris has displayed over his albums. ‘I’m Alive’ is another song written by Andy that illustrates the difference these two brothers have musically. It’s really like night and day; where Chris’s songs for the main part create a dreamy, relaxed atmosphere brother Andy pens songs that tend to show a little more emotion, Andy mixes in different influences into the songs he has contributed here. While Chris can also throw in darker and edgier shapes on songs like the chugging ‘Throwing Your Life Away’ than we are accustomed to hearing from him, it’s Andy’s banjo - believe it or not- and his haunting backing vocals that give the edge to this song. Andy’s ‘Don’t Take This Away From Me’ again has you wondering where that voice comes from. It’s a soulful performance that would certainly be out of place on a Dodson & Fogg album and highlights once again that Andy has a wider set of influences than his brother. With Andy attacking his acoustic and Chris supplying his distinctive electric guitar, it’s another song that proves there’s more than one exceptional songwriter in the Wade family. By alternating songs Chris and Andy have created an album that is always satisfying. The brothers seem to bring out the best in each other musically. While it’s obvious who wrote each song and even which brother is contributing a specific instrument (at least on this album), it works surprisingly well given that they have slightly differing musical styles (again at least on this album). Taking the name for this project from an early Jack Nicholson character in the film ‘The Raven’ that was very loosely based on the Edgar Allan Poe poem will probably have some potential listeners thinking that they might be in for some kind of soundtrack to a horror movie; the only scary thing here is how talented these two brothers are. If I’d been told that there was another Wade who had even half the talent Chris has after hearing the second Dodson & Fogg album I doubt I would have taken you seriously. When brothers have played in bands together before there’s usually one who has the greater talent (except if the surname begins with a G when the younger had no talent at all), but Chris and Andy are one of the few exceptions where the talent appears to be equal. While ‘Rexford Bedlo’ will rightly attract and appeal to Dodson & Fogg fans be prepared to be blown away by the music from another Wade. Although Andy shares certain musical traits with his brother, he certainly has a sound of his own and an extremely fascinating one as well.



Track Listing:-
1 Hold On
2 On and On
3 Take Your Breath Away
4 Life's A River
5 I'm Alive
6 I Will Be Here For You
7 Carry On
8 Lily's Lullaby
9 Everybody Loves You
10 Throwing your Life Away
11 Don't Take This Away From Me
12 Whispering in the Breeze


Band Links:-
https://wisdomtwinsbooks.bandcamp.com/album/rexford-bedlo
https://www.facebook.com/rexfordbedlomusic


Label Links:-
http://wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com/
https://wisdomtwinsbooks.bandcamp.com/



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