If you’ve not already seen this band’s latest video, shared to celebrate the release of their debut album Do The Duvet, then I can wholeheartedly recommend making space for this during your day. The video for ‘We Are The Babies‘ had me in stitches and the song wasn’t bad either. Naked Roommate certainly know how to strike a pose, to get their message heard and this lo-fi, minimalist, post-punk-funk quartet hailing from Berkeley in California is certainly a medicine worth imbibing. Just chill and don’t take life so seriously, certainly a medicine I could do with taking a lesson from right now, but perhaps this is where my education should start?
The band was conceived in 2018, by partners in art and life – Amber Sermeño (vocals) and Andy Jordon (drum programming, synthesiser, and more). They have since been joined by fellow artists Alejandra Alcala (bass, backing vocals) and finally Michael Zamora (guitar, cowbell, and more). This combination creates not only the hijinks that can be seen in their latest video but a very loose and productive ethos, working with a hypnotic post-punk pulse at its core. 2 years since their formation is a mere gnat’s whisker in terms of what they have presented here. 10 gloriously full tunes that fill the bowl to brimming, in what I have to describe as lo-fi electronica, complete with the most fantastic bass lines to drive these songs.
It should be mentioned that only one track from their 2018 EP finds its way here. ‘Fondu Guru’, is a very lo-fi tune that utilises an 80s synthesiser sound, which quickly sees its way into the brief ‘Credit Union‘. Here synthetic saxophone put me in mind of X-Ray Spex‘s ‘Oh Bondage…Up Yours‘ & is a number I would like to think that Poly Styrene would have approved of, although this time perhaps less punk-rock than it is totally-unique. As this fades, a funk vibe is heard in ‘Je Suis Le Bebe‘, complete with acidic electronic splashes, as the vocalist tells the story “Don’t need no bus pass, don’t no shoes…“, in a tune ripe for every indie disco, from Los Angeles to London and beyond. It’s wonderful to hear the excited electronic explosions, placed into much of the content, that fire at the listener randomly, possibly to ensure they have remained alert. Remaining alert isn’t too difficult though, as these tunes are addictive, with vocals for the most part acting only as part of the song’s tapestry. Although I have to say that it’s the bass line that acts as a mainstay and part of the number’s hypnotic pull.
It’s great to hear an album full of such breadth as Naked Roommate has offered, while adhering to a very DIY philosophy. Before I put this record back in its sleeve, I have to make mention to the album’s penultimate track ‘Repeat‘, in which Amber & Alejandra can be heard performing the mantra “Look good, smell good, show up on time, repeat” a brief lesson in dating etiquette perhaps?