Having relocated back to Falmouth from his home in Douglas on the Isle of Man late last year, Jack Wolter once again immersed himself in the ever-prolific community that he was previously a substantial part of. At Wax Music’s First Birthday gig at Beerwolf Books in December, Samuel Bedford’s Selfish Son delivered a rousing set with Wolter behind the kit, shedding light on a curious combination of characters working together. While sonically being quite contrasting, in their lingering melodies and frankly personal lyricism they share an absorbing quality that reaches out further than their shared location. Having now toured together in Wolter’s hometown for a set of shows, the duo have provided the first in a series of split releases from Wolter’s own independent label Waveyhead, with each artist covering a track of the others with compelling results.
Taking on Bedford’s ‘Blood In My Mouth‘, Wolter moulds it into the poignant, inward-pop that he first began to explore on his last EP, ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me‘. A wave of static distortion alleviates, giving way to a thin frame of singular percussive beats coupled with the familiar effervescence of guitar on previous EPs having been replaced with more mellow, sporadic synth. Dwelling within it’s melancholic atmosphere, Wolter delivers a softly spoken vocal entry that, whilst seemingly defeated, summons glimmers of admission and acceptance; “We don’t talk so much now, cause there is not much more to say”. While Selfish Son wrench out every drop of emotion, Cubzoa delve headfirst into the heart of them, the delicate instrumentation allowing the space to invoke further feeling from Bedford’s lyricism, “I hope you never notice all my pretty flaws“. Each layer adds a thin veil of hidden mysticism to both Bedford & Wolter’s exposed characters.
Selfish Son’s version of ‘Follow Me‘, from Cubzoa’s EP ‘Chlorine‘, begins much like the original. It’s when an introduction of bright, hazy chords is drenched in thick layers of distortion that we hear the first glimpse of familiar Bedford territory. Submerged in darkness, it doesn’t demoralise the strength of the track, it simply adds to it. An undefined refrain of light chords and Bedford’s restrained call to “follow me” is blown away by a storm of distortion, cementing his ability with conjuring sonic emotion out of dynamics. Bedford’s usually uncompromising vocal feels more understated, yet still the central figure within the track, displaying his more sombre nature as he delivers “stitch my eyes so I can not see” with raw exasperation. Replacing Wolter’s shy reservations with snarling remorse, the combination of ethereal harmonies and distorted layers are relaxing and disconcerting all at once, proving each have an ability to surround themselves in mystery in their own way.
Jack Wolter and Samuel Bedford have taken the skeletal fragments of each others thoughts and pushed them in directions that evoke a new context within their music. While perhaps enlightening us with the path they both wish to explore, they don’t fail to provide strong singles that are as compelling sonically as their lyricism is openly inviting. While both experiment with unpredictable tones, they dance in the clarity of each other’s effective foundations.