We are used to a frenetic hyperactive Bandicoot that romps at a breakneck speed teetering on the brink of a chaotic convulsion, barely restrained and utterly wild. Their new track ‘Early Morning’ completely subverts this trope and shows this is a band with many arrows in their quiver. This is a statuesque and breathtakingly beautiful ballad that is elegant and poised, anthemic and cinematic. The polished vocals from singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhys Underdown are sonorous and deep like some whiskey-soaked crooner in a red velvet smoky lounge, late at night, singing with a delicious allure.
Deep inside, however, there remains a steely thread that comes to the surface in a rousing anthemic burst towards the end of the song, adorned as it is with the sound of birdsong and nature. This is Bandicoot nodding at Velvet Underground: a slow burning fuse that emanates heat and desire at sub zero temperatures.
Underdown says of the 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
An electric piano opens up the track – quiet and reflective – and the video captures the pastoral bliss of the track as the enigmatic band performs with a laconic and louche manner in a cold park at dawn: another immersive performance:
Out through Libertino Records, you can stream through all the usual places. The band has also announced their debut album ‘Black After Dark’ which will be released on 4 March 2022 which can be pre-ordered from Libertino here.
Bandicoot are Rhys Underdown (guitar, vocals, saxophone and keyboards), Billy Stillman (drums),
Tom Emlyn (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Keiran Doe (bass). You can catch them on tour at the following venues in the coming months:
Thu 17 – Sun 20 Feb: Norrköping, Sweden, Future Echoes
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