UK indie artist Bess Atwell is not new to music, however, her intoxicating mix of folk, pop, and rock is new to us here at Ear to the Ground. (And me personally.) Her newest EP, “Big Blue” released 5 months ago is striking and amiably breathtaking. Her vocals are warm, with a unique timbre to her vibrato that is both enticing and interesting. Her storytelling is poignant and her musicality spot on. So, without further ado… Bess Atwell, everyone.
Swimming Pool begins the five-song EP and immediately draws you in with the soft electric guitar tones and punchy drum beats. Lyrically, it speaks to the struggle women have sometimes with wanting to grab the attention of a lover but not wanting to seem “too much.” The struggle is real, for sure! I really enjoyed the textures and dynamics of the score, flowing ups and downs, with some excellently laced background vocals throughout.
Folksy to its core, Grace leads us into the next phase of melancholy and beauty. A tale of breaking down the ones we love and the ultimate demise of it all, it’s dark, sad, and utterly gorgeous. The bridge with the multi-layered vocals is truly gorgeous. There’s a lot of weaving vocally that flows so effortlessly. It’s an angelic aural delight.
Cherry Baby was the first song I heard from Ms. Atwell and was what truly caused me to click through and hear more. The chorus, especially the vocals, is something truly special. The jazzy bass line throughout, especially on the second verse is a great addition to what could have been a simple 1,2,4 melody. The guitar on the bridge builds and adds so much, then with the celestial vocals looming overtop is ghostly and lovely.
There’s something so enticing about a simple electric guitar strum sometimes. It’s so standard, but if matched with excellent vocals and lyrics, it can be something memorable. Harvested is such a song for me. It’s my favorite vocal on the EP and it’s also the most exceptional lyrically. I think this is one to hear (and feel) for yourself.
The final song on this all-too-short EP is Ventnor Villas and it’s haunting and alluring… in like, the best possible way! The high harmony is dazzling and the synth addition post-chorus is unexpected and thrilling. Gosh, then throw in some surprise minor chords for like, good measure? Sure! I’m down. This song is not typical in any way and it’s so much better for it.
So, there you have it. One of my favorite new artists. And since I’m also a visual learner, I figured I’d add a gorgeous music video for Swimming Pool for you. So that you, too, can become a fan. (In case you haven’t already.) Also, that suit? Ammiright????