Life’s a rush, so the chance to slow down and step lightly into every fold, nook and cranny of Bandicoot’s beautiful ode to waking by the side of the one you loved, Early In The Morning, is to be grabbed, gently, with both hands. Arriving as the wait for the Swansea four-piece’s debut album, Black After Dark, released on Libertino Records on Fri 4 March 2022, turns from months to days, the band’s signature pomp and bombast makes way for the delicate sound of emotion surfacing and returning to the depths across four minutes of sprawling, elegant song.
Taking half of the last decade to write, Early In The Morning finds Bandicoot staring long into matters of the head and heart as lead vocalist, Rhys Underdown delivers a performance of fluttering-stomach and goosebumps yearning over celestial, electric-piano-led instrumentation. A place where late Blur meets late Smiths on a rain-lashed promenade, loaded with the same weight of emotion and sense of diminishing time, the song stands as a totem of patient and earnest, thread-pulling songwriting.
Giving up five of the 13 tracks from Black After Dark, including the drama of Life Death And Other Things, the riffy Worried Blues, the glammed-up Supergrass-a-like riot of FUZZY, prior to release, Bandicoot’s multi-hued, playful run-in adds yet another vivid shade with the Early In The Morning’s shared A-side, the driving speed-rock of Mynedfeydd (translation: Hidden Entrances).
The band’s lead singing multi-instrumentalist, Underdown says of the lead track:
“’Early In The Morning’ is a love song in three parts which took five years to write. It begins in Swansea, with the serenity of watching a loved one sleeping. It moves to a hotel in Aberystwyth, as a storm rages on the sea front, and then ends with departure, loss, heartbreak, where dreams and reality are confused and time seems to thunder through. You look back at certain songs and wonder how they came about, and this is one of those that seemed to write itself in the very rain falling outside.”
Citing inspirations that include the Plastic Ono Band, Velvet Underground and CAN, Bandicoot’s genre-bending explorations into moving guitar music continues on stages around the world through 2022 in support of Black After Dark, with the band confirming the following live venue and festival dates for the coming months.
Tue 1 Mar: London, Roundhouse
Sat 5 Mar: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Sun 13 – Sun 20 Mar: Austin, Texas, SXSW
Sat 26 Mar: Laugharne, Laugharne Weekend Festival,
Fri 8 April: London, The Fiddler
Sat 16- Sun 17 April: Newport, Big Sesh
Thu 5- Sat 7 May: Wrexham, Focus Wales