Vocalist and bassist Nicholas Pentabona and vocalist and drummer Morgan Berns of the Boston hardcore band BEDTIMEMAGIC sound like they are having a good time on their second LP Between The Sheets. Or at least as good of a time as you can have while playing music about eeking out a living in a late-capitalist hellhole like the rapidly gentrifying City on a Hill.
Between the Sheets doesn’t stray much from BEDTIMEMAGIC’s established style of tense and circuitous, feedback saturated metallic hardcore, but there is a noticeable shift in approach when it comes to the balance of momentum with rhythm. This takes the shape of more tremendous, churning, and expressive grooves—sonic tides that can capsize a ship as it drifts out to sea, or splinter it against the rocks of a bluff as it nears shore. In either case,
Previous efforts by the band had a strong sense of propulsion to them, emphasizing attack over precision. Not a bad way for a hardcore band to make their mark, but you can get bogged down that way rather quickly. You sometimes need twisty melodies and diamond pattern grooves to divert energy into so you don’t flood the engine with pure aggression. BEDTIMEMAGIC seem to be getting better at this with age and it’s proving to make their overall sound more powerful and compelling as a result.
“A Wake” rides one of the monster grooves I’ve been talking about through a tempest of emotions in a spiral pattern like a spider caught in a whirlpool of grey suds and dirt exiting a bathtub via a rust caked drain. Elsewhere, their thundering presentation almost resembles the swampy, mud-churning slap of Mastodon, particularly on the boiling, kettle of angst “Dirt Nap,” while a little later, they stitch up their noise rock bonafides with a shock of prickly, rabies-scare kind of terror, courtesy of the Child Bite like “Comforter.”
Towards the middle of the album, the rhymes get more adventurous, like on “Count Sleep,” which sounds like something Les Claypool might have written while recovering from an un-anesthetized root canal with the sound of the dentist’s electric drill still buzzing in his ear.
Between the Sheets also contains one of the more ambitious tracks of BEDTIMEMAGIC in terms of sheer length. The trepidacious torrents and shifting malice of currents on “Fitted Queen” will leave you feeling like a lonely maze runner pursued by a famished chimera, and terrorized at every turn by the way the landscape around you contorts and deviates as the band manipulates tape reels and exacerbates your perception of time. It’s a fresh direction for the band for sure, and one that they seem comfortable forging ahead through.
If there is one thing this world could use more of, it’s a hardcore band with a sense of humor, a love of intensity, and the will to play with expectations, and BEDTIMEMAGIC are able to layer each with aplomb, Between the Sheets.
Buy and stream Between the Sheets below via Bandcamp: