Country Sleep by Night Beds (Album)
Night Beds places one hand on the mantle created by Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver with a beautiful debut album
ive years ago, two records were released that didn’t so much leave an indelible mark on the indie-folk movement but thrust it back into the public consciousness, paving the way for the genre to take ist place in the upper echelons of the album charts and awards ceremonies renown. Those records were Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago and Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut. And it’s these records that inform and inspire Country Sleep, the excellent debut album from Night Beds, aka Nashville songwriter Winston Yellen.
Recorded in one of Johnny Cash’s old homes, Country Sleep opens with the a capella Faithful Heights, a song which introduces Yellen’s beautiful voice: a falsetto that sits comfortably in-between the stoic lament of Bon Iver and the angelic harmonies of Fleet Foxes. It’s a voice to level a boisterous arena to pin-drop silence. Next comes Ramona, a song with ‘unexpected hit’ written all over it, possessing enough sadness to pull on the heart strings but enough certainty to assure the listener that Yellen will soar, rather than collapse.
“Enough gems to put Queen Victoria’s tiaras to shame”
The whole album is replete with enough gems to put Queen Victoria’s tiaras to shame. Further highlights include 22, which wouldn’t sound out of place on Fleet Foxes’ debut, Borrowed Time, which brings a little country into the fray, the atmospheric Cherry Blossoms, a song that could have been pulled straight from For Emma, Forever Ago, the piano-led duet Wanted You In August and the beautiful album closer TENN.
Both Bon Iver’s and Fleet Foxes’ debut albums came to be considered among the finest records their year of release and though 2013 is not yet one sixth through, Country Sleep seems destined for the same acclaim. More than that though, those albums provided their creators with a springboard to international success and enduring critical acclaim. Will Country Sleep see Night Beds afforded the same celebre? Watch this space, but don’t bet against it.
Verdict: Night Beds releases an early contender for album of the year