Innes Wilson‘s latest EP Bedford Hills is a short and sweet folk record perfect for this time of year. Its four tracks are bright, airy and uplifting. Bedford Hills also manages to be cohesive while exploring assorted yet connected influences. The opening track “On The Surface” features lush, orchestral instrumentation that gives the song a regal and classical atmosphere.
“A Familiar Sound” features plenty of its namesake. Its instrumentation is similar to that found in Conor Oberst‘s solo career; acoustic guitars, bright organs, an harmonica, and light drums. For an even more authentically retro twist, something about the vocals is reminiscent of the light-hearted melodies that made The Beach Boys famous. The lyrics might not resonate with anyone who isn’t a songwriter or artist of some kind, but it’s an interesting take on writer’s block.
I initially mistook “No Other One” to be the most guitar-driven and instrumentally bare-bones song on this record. However the inclusion of a keyboard, which subtly fluctuates between an organ sound and a more standard synth sound, all the while keeping up with the bouncy cadence of the drums, gives the song energy and keeps it interesting.
This subtle keyboard is a huge part of the EP’s overall charm and appears again on its final track, “Our All Time Lows.” The way it matches Innes’ whistling and acoustic guitar riff in the intro creates a catchy and layered sound that shows up multiple times throughout the song. This motif makes up for the song’s unfortunately boring chorus, as does the brief cadence shift around the song’s two minute mark. “Our All Time Lows” then quickly comes to a close and wraps up the EP without ceremony.
There’s nothing innovative or groundbreaking about Bedford Hills, but the record makes ample use of both modern and classic folk influences that create a familiar and fresh atmosphere. As the weather warms up and the days get longer, this record is a welcome companion to the predictable and psychologically essential return of spring.
Written by Brian Charles Clarke
*edited by Kate Erickson