Bandicoot are the four piece Swansea based band consisting of Rhys Underdown (guitar, vocals, saxophone and keyboards), Billy Stillman (drums), Tom Emlyn (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Keiran Doe (bass).
Reclaiming for a new generation the poetry of Dylan, the stark beauty and unhinged rock n roll of mid-70s John Cale, and Badfinger’s melancholic timeless songcraft, Bandicoot have achieved a sound which they say “flows like post-industrial blues through Swansea’s rain-soaked concrete streets.”
Bandicoot have earned a ferocious reputation, thanks to their raucous, overflowing live shows that spin euphorically from post-punk and krautrock to glam stomp and art-pop sensuality at the drop of a note.
“Bandicoot are wired instinctively to the cathartic screams of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, the lustful danger of the Velvet Underground, and CAN’s cinematic propulsion. They are the art-house provocateurs of Warhol’s Factory brought to life on Swansea’s rainy streets” – Libertino
The band are now back with their latest song; ‘Early In The Morning’, which we are advised has taken an incredible five years in the making! The new track is an evocative number riding the waves of love and loss. It comes as the band release their eagerly anticipated debut album ‘Black After Dark’ (released on Libertino Records on the 4 March 2022)
‘Early In The Morning’ is a gentle and tranquil ode giving the listener a chance to slow down and reflect on life’s moments to be cherished; the waking up early in the morning safe in a snug haven with the one you love by your side. Its a definite change of pace for the band from what we are used to with their usual full throttle, high octane offerings making way for a much more delicate sound of emotion with this elegant, ambling melody.
As stated above, ‘Early In The Morning’ coming into fruition and being released has taken the band several years to be happy and content with the final version that we hear today. Its clear that Bandicoot must have spent many an hour looking into themselves and their owns heads and hearts to be able to bring us such a personally emotional track such as this. 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 loaded with the same weight of emotion and sense of diminishing time
After giving us 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
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.
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
Words by Sally Newman