Share an instant nostalgia buzz of classic emo-inspired homesickness as you sit back and chill with Bewilder on a nostalgic Sunday evening.

Release date: October 6, 2023 | Tiny Engines | Instagram | Bandcamp

From vocalist/guitarist George Brooks and multi-instrumentalist Tom Wilkinson, Bewilder is the UK duo’s decade long project that encompasses shades of bedroom indie pop with hints of a melodic Midwest emo nostalgia. The artists’ journey took place initially back in 2011 with their first extended EP This Isn’t Life, It’s Just Stuff demonstrating their gentile touch to composing music that takes the edge off whilst emitting a radiant gaze of minimalistic harmony. The band have since matured, and their sound and their music has evolved to render a much more rounded and natural delivery that utilies indie production with a sorrowful emo shine to polish. Beginning work on what would be their debut LP in 2019, Bewilder utilised their most sophisticated and polished parts of their subsequent demos throughout the next few years, moulding each sonic element into what would become From the Eyrie.

A reminiscent and beautiful approach is delicately applied to each of the tracks, this can be noticed instrumentally through the frail guitar strings being picked with the robust stature of an icicle, the opening track “Heavy Sweater” shows this clearly with organic arpeggios sweeping in like an evening frost that reminds the listener of a warming past memory. Moreover, “By the River” establishes this emo stylistic foundation that renders that of American Football or Camping in Alaska. These sparse musical elaborations, through mathy chord structures and rhythmic composure, bring warmth to the album’s sound and create a hopeful nostalgia that tips its hat to the melancholic nature of the Midwest emo canon.

The string arrangements further create an elusive and transparent soundscape which shows Wilkinson and Brooks’ versatility within their songwriting by adding a folk-like nature to the music, greatly enhancing the listener’s emotional attachments to the comforting familiarity of the past, the waning and disquieting present, and the uncertain future. “Twin Lakes” and “Way Away” carry this feverish kind of lucidity through these folk-like timbral walls of sound emulating from the arpeggiated string ensembles, the soft-spoken nature of the vocals further resonating with the records key themes of nostalgia, childhood memories, and the tranquillity of the natural world. As Brooks elaborates, From the Eyrie aims to resemble the artist’s childhood memories and the beauty of nature, capturing ‘the feeling of being awed by rolling hills, lush fields, and seemingly never-ending oceans that so accompanies childhood’.

The guest musicans who are involved throughout further enhance this album, from violinist Stephen Wragg’s transparent string pieces soaring through the sonic atmospheres to Claire Wilkinson’s additional vocal presence adding harmonic clarity. Their involvement on the album’s fifth track “Breaking” produces a supplementary layer of warmth, Wilkinson’s vocals adding a fresh textural perspective within the verses. The following track “Home” looks to really drill the nostalgic element to the listener through Brooks’ vivid voice samples played over lo-fi stereo system styled textures enriching a colourful sonic palette. And, as the album comes to a close, listeners can feel a sense of comfort and familiarity within the final songs “An Education” and “Cooperative” calling that classic ’90s emo vibe into play once again.

Sometimes we just need a bit of warmth and comfort in some of the music we listen to; something to listen to on a frosty day whilst you feel the urge to reminisce about the simpler times, the times when things were alright, and you long for the days of innocence, tranquillity, and familiarity. Bewilder not only takes you on a journey of nostalgia through an interpersonal sonic communication of the artists’ own experiences that bare some semblance with that of the listener, but it also does so with a delicate utility of several genres such as emo, bedroom pop, indie, and folk music to elevate this nostalgic expression of sound that unlocks once forgotten memories in the minds of listeners.

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