Night Beds see a return to acoustic balladry with “Blue Knuckle,” a delightful and touching ode to love that laments just as well as it uplifts.
Listen: “Blue Knuckle” – Night Beds
Night Beds has turned into an enigmatic group, seemingly vanishing from any online channel through their own volition. Though, the same could be said with the group’s sound, changing from folk to electronics and R&B in a rapid fashion. Despite the drastic change, Night Beds proved to be champions of both, offering rich and textured soundscapes that offered fans and listeners tales that were equal parts lighthearted and deeply affecting. “Blue Knuckle” shares in this while taking a page from the group’s earlier works through its acoustic balladry that is emotionally stirring and filled to the brim with an unmatched beauty.
Fronted by Winston Yellen, Night Beds has undergone a series of changes with their sound and presence. Country-rock with indie-folk thrown into the mix surrounded their first few EPs and debut album, Country Sleep. Yellen then deviated from normalcy, embarking on electronic and R&B fusion with Ivywild, and the result was stunning. Three years of silence had passed until Dear Jewell, in 2018 was released, an EP that pushed forward the electronic soundscapes of Ivywild while also throwing in soft folk tendencies. Soon after, a faint trace of “Blue Knuckle” was found in the later parts of 2018, but was never officially released. But now, it’s official, and the track is a haunting and alluring example of the immense musicality Yellen possesses.
The track opens with a sound clip from My Fair Lady, possibly alluding to the theme of the track as a whole. Then Yellen appears, crooning “I am speaking from a great, great height. I am calling out to all of your light, and if only I could have some fun, but I know my life was never won.” Yellen’s vocals are incomparable, his inflections and range uniquely his. Every word sung contains an extensive amount of soul and character, allowing him to reach audiences within seconds of the track. Less than a minute in and already his melodies swirl around listeners’ ears with dignified grace. As the track continues, Yellen continues this tale of hurt and a love no longer present.
Yeah and living off the love I saved
And I know that I get out of line
What’s that you’re saying
I’ve been working like a surgeon
On some courage
Lift my burden
I’ve been hurting
Have you heard it
This will only make it harder
The next verse repeats the line “how come you never celebrate” with traces of a vocoder attached to the vocals, a tool heavily used on Ivywild and Dear Jewell,. The repetition soon stops with the final line “how come you never celebrate my life.” Without any time to digest the sorrows present, the track moves into the next verse, aching with a beautiful hurt that one would be hard-pressed not to feel themselves. It continues with the line “I will love you ‘til my blood runs dry,” providing the mind a portrait of what seems to be unreciprocated love or at least a love that is reaching its end.
Now I’m calling from the ocean deep
I’ve been diving for a place to be
I am chasing til you end my light
I will love you til my blood runs dry
I am singing to your spirit now
Cause I know what time is running out
Just let my voice free all of your doubt
As the track reaches its end, the instruments begin to escalate, building into a crescendo of guitar, percussion, and hazy vocoder-assisted vocals that cause the heart to beat unconditionally, relishing in the tear-inducing music that is transpiring. The bustle of instrumentation then ceases, reverting back to the acoustic guitar and shimmering electronics in the foreground. It almost acts as a reprieve of sorts, calming the nerves and allowing the soul to peacefully regain itself. And at that moment, only a deep breath remains, concluding Yellen’s story.
Weeping now maybe that I could make you mine
Anything you are is all I need
Kissing you in a dark den
Dream tell me what is there left to do
I love all that is you
Night Beds has artistry that surpasses many, crafting soundscapes that bewitch in the most delightful of ways. “Blue Knuckle” is no different, the worlds of hurt and charm coalescing into something that can only be described as magnificent. There doesn’t seem to be a hint of what lies next for Night Beds, but it’s safe to say “Blue Knuckle” is one of the most arresting singles of 2019, and that should be good enough to satiate fans’ appetites. For now.
Listen: “Blue Knuckle” – Night Beds
📸 © 2015