Bethan have undergone what may be termed as quite a transition over the past two or three years, moving from the electronic sound of debut EP Chapter 1 and evolving to become the sultry yet charmingly playful five-piece we find today.
The group are set to release debut album Time Gone By on October 7th. Produced by McKenzie Smith, the LP is born of a period of personal transition and the romantic concept of starting afresh, and as such is written with that wonderfully melancholy hint of reflection. Add to this a vocal which is as hearty as it gets and the result is a soulful diversity which invites us to scratch the surface and explore those layers.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Tom Waits and Cole Porter, Bethan are no strangers to the exploration of a sound which ranges from somber to joyfully upbeat, and this is fully evident as Time Gone By dips in and out of both-And everything in between.
Opening track Low Expectations eases us in by way of invitation. Enter Jessi James Hall and that captivating vocal which unwinds against the backdrop of crisp, clear strings and soft percussion-It’s melodic and enticing.
Beside Me is one of those tracks which seems to be at a permanent peak. It carries a harmonic and almost euphoric sense of crescendo, yet maintains the tone of an album which by now is growing in momentum with a splash of blues rock about it, radiating from that soulful vocal.
Greedy Songbird is an apt illustration of the aforementioned diversity. A gritty intro and high-pitched vocal entices us to explore swirling tones and an overall sound which has retaken its previously melancholy stance. Somber, perhaps dark? Maybe so, but very definitely delightfully upbeat lyrically-verging on (dare we say it) chirpy.
It’s worth noting that the key ingredient to Time Gone By may be the involvement of producer McKenzie Smith of Midlake fame. Those familiar with his collaboration with Sarah Jaffe will appreciate his undoubted ability to unlock the full potential of those with whom he works, making this LP well worth a visit on the strength of that alone. The album will stand out of its own accord-It carries a classic sound and is brimming with the potential of a young group who manage to steadfastly stick to their values whilst balancing this with a creative diversity.
This album was a long time coming, having heard it, let’s hope the next is in the near future. Time Gone By is available from October 7th via Velvet Blue Music.