Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys – Ready For Boredom
The debut album from Sydney’s Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys is an unexpectedly assured release, writes MAX EASTON.
It’s not enough to settle on their name, their blatantly obvious influences or their divisive history as an introduction to Sydney four-piece The Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. While they give off the impression of insipidity by title, rip-off merchants by nature and drunken brats from a distance, their debut album is an unexpectedly assured release. It’s hard to imagine anyone sounding like this again this year, Australian or otherwise, and while it can sound like it was released 20 years too late, it marks an unashamed revival that if anything, is ahead of the curve.
On Ready For Boredom, The Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys reclaim classic rock from FM radio, and with all its overzealous scope, drag it from the arenas to the front bars of inner-suburban pubs. In doing so, they manage to boil it down to a level that feels within the reach of anyone with the time and inclination, which is exactly what the great subversive underground acts did in the past. It’s no surprise that the sounds of the Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys fall so closely in line with acts of that ilk then, trading on the self-mockery and juvenile excess of acts like The Replacements. But there’s more to it than homage to ‘80s underground rock, there are similarities not just to The Replacements and their influences, but to the very acts those bands were rebelling against. The Bad Boys do everything unashamedly, and if the scene that surrounds them once turned their noses up at KISS, Creedence, Cheap Trick or Thin Lizzy, they might at least see the merit of the Bad Boys’ interpretation.
Unlike rock’n’roll’s reliance on mining the fields of youthful rebellion, the Bad Boys stick to an honest take on newly found adulthood – from developing emotions to growing careers, with music as a post-5pm distraction. You’re not being told to kick against society; you’re being reminded that it’s OK to feel ready to settle down, even if that’s not on the cards yet. “Give me something that I can lose,” Nic Warnock shouts on ‘Devotion’, one of a number of his yearning lines about wanting to gain something foreign, even if that’s just so he can fuck it up. “Feelin’ guilt for not feeling guilty,” he sings later on ‘Have You Ever’. “I just want to live a stress free life,” he spits on ‘Bite My Tongue’. He’s either making an attempt to come to grips with his own persona, yearning to discover a new one, or desperately hoping for mid-20’s turmoil to settle down so that he can too.
“Together, the band speaks with one, tragic and unsettled voice.”
When Joe Sukit (who also plays in Royal Headache) takes the mic, his feelings are more tangible, but no less complicated. On ‘Any Day Now’, he’s struggling to aim up to other people’s unspoken expectations before wondering why he can’t rely on them when he goes his own way. (“When your girlfriend hates your guts and makes you feel this way/When you’ve tried so many times you’ve got nothing left to say.”) Meanwhile, Ben Warnock’s sole track ‘Wait and See’ is a frustrated wait for clarity, testing the limit of patience as he too waits for things to settle down. Together, the band speaks with one, tragic and unsettled voice, delivering their feelings directly from a singular point that lies directly between the four of them.
Even their press release makes mention of their commitment to the concept of a “band as gang” philosophy, and it’s a prevalent idea on record. You can’t split the two guitars, or who played them, and you can barely split the three vocals. Their songs all feel like they come from the same place because all their feelings are overlapping. They take to task simple day-to-day shit – biting tongues, being alone, letting people down – and to that end, it feels honest and direct, because it’s done without pretension. It’s through this veil of cocksure rock ‘n’ roll that they get away with shedding their emotional cores. In the same way that they reclaim big riffs and vacuous solos from the arena, they take back soul-searching from the serious songwriter and place it in the hands of a boozed up gang of four.
This is a record that doesn’t pretend to be unique, or attempt to reach some kind of unobtainable next step of musical evolution. It will never be heralded as the return of rock ‘n’ roll like The Vines somehow managed to dupe the press into believing 10 years ago, but Ready For Boredom is one of this country’s purest doses of the stuff for quite some time.