Bedlam Suitcase: The Fourth Wall review – Too many half-baked ideas

Thu, Feb 13, 2020, 05:00


The Fourth Wall

Bedlam Suitcase

The Knock Records


Fate brought them together at a David Bowie tribute gig in Sligo in 2016. Four years later, Bedlam Suitcase’s debut album sounds as unconventional as their narrative has been.

Clare native Tara Baoth-Mooney (who once voiced a character in kid’s TV show Bear in the Big Blue House), Padraig Meehan (formerly of Sligo 1980s rock band Those Nervous Animals) and percussionist Tom Jamieson are the core of this expansive rock collective, while Bowie’s longtime Irish guitarist Gerry Leonard later came on board to produce (and play on) the album.

It sounds as though he struggled to contain the myriad styles and ideas, though; all too often, as heard on Hey Caligula and the nonsensical Catfood Millionaire, each player is simply allowed to run riot. Sounds fun, right?

Yet the countless loose threads and half-baked ideas only frustrate, with sounds and melodies contradicting each other at every turn. Freestyle jazz piano riffs clumsily clash with quirky pop melodies on Bouncing to Bethlehem and Mountain Shadow; the gurgling electronica and clatter of piano and bass on Man with a Suitcase is a disjointed, cacophony.

The Fourth Wall certainly embodies Bowie’s sense of ambition, but crucially lacks his focus and vision. There are some nice ideas here, but few of them are satisfyingly brought to fruition.