EP Review: Bess Atwell - 'Big Blue'

Photo credit: Jantina Talsma

Photo credit: Jantina Talsma

Singer Songwriter Bess Atwell dives into dreamy folk rock depths with elegant new EP, ‘Big Blue’ which explores the themes of identity, romanticism and reality.

‘Big Blue’ opens with the warped textures and a crunchy percussive rhythm of ‘Swimming Pool’ setting a foreboding, emotive atmosphere. But the darkness is pleasantly juxtaposed by lighter, melodic guitar tones and Atwell’s haunting folk-tinged vocal holds a pure, timeless sensibility, hitting its listener hard in the feelings. Where ‘Swimming Pool’ is sonically anchored in a dark, brooding, introspective groove, ‘Grace’ is filled with light restrain in its gentle finger picking, spacious toe tapping arrangements and airy, untethered vocals.

‘Cherry Baby’ is a solemn slow burner, showing off a tight, sophisticated band sound. Lead single ‘Harvested’ features gorgeous vocal harmonies and is arguably the most dreamy, romantic song on the EP as Bess’s serenely sings, “ you could’ve pulled me under, but you saved yourself to come back for me” amidst chiming melodic guitars and gently thudding percussive arrangements that almost feels math rock inspired.

EP closer, ‘Vetnor Villas’ presents itself as a raw, vintage folk song perfect for lazy summer days but there’s progressive electronic textures here that wraps up the EP with a huge sense of enjoyment and intrigue.

Produced by Giles Barrett, ‘Big Blue’ is an EP led by Bess’ shiveringly good vocals, catchy hooks and intelligent lyricism, but there’s real depth and richness to the instrumentation too. ‘Big Blue’ builds on vintage folk roots with restrained yet notably experimental, rocky influences. This EP is crafted to feel textured and engaging and to ebb and flow in an impressive yet understated manner. A thoroughly enjoyable listen from start to finish.

Words of Karla Harris

Bess Atwell’s new EP ‘Big Blue’ is out now via Mother’s Milk Records. You can catch Bess Atwell live at the following dates, here.