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Cagework is a new project fronted by Sam Bedford. A three-piece formed in South-West England, they draw inspiration from odd lo-fi indie, post-hardcore, early emo and smatterings of avant-garde folk. The band have been together less than a year, playing shows in South London and beyond, releasing one single. And now... Coming in at 16 minutes, the self-titled debut album is as direct as it is vibrant. Dissonant, atonal, yet somehow hook-driven, its confidence and self-assuredness demonstrative of a band long into the game, not a group only beginning so recently. As Bedford explains, “It seems strange to want to draw a line under such a short period of time, considering we’ve been a band for less than a year,” says Bedford. “But we were looking ahead and really wanted to have these songs documented, with so many more being written all the time.” Cagework were spotted by Justin Lockey (Mastersystem / Minor Victories) who was immediately keen to produce and release the album on Physical Education, a label he co-runs.
Evidently, the production on the album has been left as abrasive and raw as Bedford intended: all big drums and Albini influenced discord. Cagework released first single Simmer in April 2018, receiving praise and support from the likes of So Young, Clash and Rough Trade, with repeated spins from Huw Stephens, Gideon Coe and Amy Lamé. But what about since then? “We played through the initial excitement around the release of Simmer, which was really encouraging,” says Bedford. This period included some touring and some support slots alongside The Districts, Yuck and Hembree. The album was intended to be a self-release in early 2019, but through fate and good fortune, the home recordings found their way to Physical Education Recordings. The band travelled up to Phys Ed founder Justin Lockey’s South Yorkshire studio. Just before the session, the band threw a wildcard down; Wilson – a track which was to become the first single from the record. “That song is about someone who is lonely, isolated and how it’s probably because of their values, or certainly how stubbornly they’re sticking to those values,” Bedford says. “It’s about accepting that sometimes you need to change how you think about yourself and recognise when the choices you’re making are making you unhappy.” This album reflects the familiar, pervasive malaise of 2018 and, by the looks of things, 2019. It also responds with a message on the need to reflect, a process the band have spent enough time on to be a relative authority on the issue. Another theme of the record is boredom and how people respond to it, particularly in a time where there are infinite distractions.
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