Do The Duvet by Naked Roommate

Naked Roommate are Amber Sermeńo & Andy Jordan from Californian dance/post-punk band The World. 'Do The Duvet' sees them channeling Vivien Goldman to take a dub-infused post-punk joyride. Multi-instrumentalist and former Bad Bad member Michael Samora joins them along with Blues Lawyer/Preening bassist Alejandra Alcala. Tremendous fun for fans of Golden Teacher.

Limited Vinyl LP £17.48 UTR132

180g sun yellow vinyl LP on Upset The Rhythm. Edition of 500 copies.

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Do The Duvet by Naked Roommate
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8/10 Fred MG 27 August 2020

It’s pretty easy to parse the sonic touchstones that Naked Roommate (great name) used to create their delightful debut LP ‘Do The Duvet’. The punk-funk tones of Tom Tom Club, ESG, and more recently Shopping can all be detected here, and there is also a pleasing mechanistic thud to the beats which harks to Glaswegian acts Golden Teacher and Total Leatherette.

However, where ‘Do The Duvet’ really wins out is by utilising not just the sonics but also the playful detachment, the coolly abstract critique, that characterises the best no-wave disco. In this respect, the album sets out its stall from the off. ‘Mad Love’ is a brilliant opener, carefully carefree, its stiff-necked groove giving off that sense of alluring tension that drives so much great disco-punk. When the vocals come in, Amber Sermeńo is stupendously wry - ‘Been walking, in time/Been stalking, it rhymes’.

The Devo-esque meta-punk qualities apparent in that lyric are ramped up throughout the next few tracks. The titles of twinned highlights ‘We Are The Babies’ and ‘Je Suis Le Bebe’ are no red herrings - the former has a breakdown which consists mainly of all the vocalists going “waaaaah” as a synth hums like a swarm of bees, and both songs chant their titles throughout. They’re funny and silly and cool, which isn’t an easy combo to pull off, but also strangely affirming - the way that the band slightly emphasise the ‘are’, when intoning the former, turns the track into a mantra of self-assertive Devolution.

‘Do The Duvet’s second half is more abstracted, maintaining the drum-machine pulses but moving out into no-wave’s more texturally-centred adjacent territories. ‘Fake I.D.’ verges on Cabaret Voltaire, there’s something dubby to ‘Fill The Space’s half-time, and I’m thrilled when the tropical slink of ‘Repeat’ reminds me of Grace Jones’ ‘Feel Up’. One of my favourite things here is the sub-one-minute vignette ‘Do The Duvet Pt. 2’, a dance track so choppy and weird that it ends up sounding like a best-case-scenario collaboration between Mark Mothersbaugh and disco-mode Arthur Russell. This may be a minimal record on principle, but the way that Naked Roommate are always throwing in a new delay effect or bass flourish or funny little synth line ensures that the listener's synapses keep sparking. 

Like its corresponding opener, ‘(Re) P.R.O.D.U.C.E.’ closes out ‘Do The Duvet’ with a piece of dry wit. The first few seconds feature a foppish, faraway punk intoning ‘‘why’d you have to act like such a j-”, but before they can finish the question another bass-drum groove kicks in and the door is slammed shut. Moping around is all well and good, it seems to say, but not get playful while you’re at it? After all, it’s definitely a lot more fun that way.



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