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Bedhead: Transaction De Novo

Album: Transaction De Novo
Label: Trance Syndicate

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The Dallas band Bedhead has made some of the most densely beautiful, haunted guitar music of recent years, using plodding, tension-building, three-guitar arrangements and clean tones to create songs that are as cathartic as they are subtly intense. Unfortunately, Bedhead's new Transaction De Novo delivers precious few of those amazing moments, instead falling back on scattershot, repetitive songs that too rarely build to anything. Sure, "More Than Ever" and "Parade" hit paydirt: The former starts with a creepy, minimalistic hook before building to a tense climax that quickly burns out, while the latter is a more conventional quiet-loud-quiet-loud number that finds drama through guitar buzzes and applied volume. A few other tracks ("Extramundane," "Lepidoptera," "The Present") click in spots, but too much of Transaction De Novo is just slight—a nine-song, 37-minute running time doesn't help—and short on emotional payoffs. The album probably wouldn't seem like such a disappointment if its two full-length predecessors (WhatFunLifeWas, Beheaded) weren't so often brilliant; as it is, you're better off seeking out those great records.