“Bed Bug” – Heavy Heart
Ambling at a walking 4/4 pace, “Bed Bug” is so approachable that you may not notice the slurry of indistinct noise that leavens this languorous and crafty tune. There are instruments to discern, for sure—drums, guitar, bass: the traditional suspects—but there’s also that special dream-pop sauce of amorphous sound blurring the background into something that you hear and don’t hear at the same time. Note in particular how it rises in volume at the chorus (first iteration at 0:44), an indecipherable swirl underpinning the lovely melody, which by the way ends with a kind of unresolved resolution (1:06-1:11) (a neat trick in and of itself).
I’d also have you tune into the lead vocals here. Dream pop/shoegaze tends historically to lean on reverb, but it hasn’t here been allowed to nullify the rich, faraway tone of lead singer Anna Vincent. There’s a moment or two where she arches up to a high note (try 0:57, for one), and the way her voice just melts into it is super appealing to me, for mysterious reasons. Too much reverb there would have lost the nuance of it. I like too the song’s casual way with a guitar riff. It’s right there in the intro: a simple, one-step-down, two-note refrain, and from there it insinuates its way into the verse, at four-measure intervals, like a friendly face spied at a bit of a distance. One last, more general thing I appreciate is how “Bed Bug” keeps varying the landscape on us: not only is the verse presented in two different settings (the second time through—1:43—the sonic palette is stripped down and drum-forward) but so is the chorus, which offers us a hazier variant the second time we hear it (2:10).
Heavy Heart is a quartet from London. Released in January, “Bed Bug” was the first single the band put out since an experiment they ran in 2016 in which they wrote, recorded, and released one new song each month for the entire year; the results were then gathered into one full-length album in 2017, entitled Keepsake. You can check out all the band’s recordings and purchase them at Bandcamp. They also now have a brand-new single, “Dowsabel,” which you can listen to there or on SoundCloud.