Exeter’s Selfish Son were made for full-band dynamism, and Samuel Bedford has fulfilled that wish by forming a group with such chemistry it feels like they’ve played together for years. While some of the tracks may be familiar cuts from Bedford’s mind, with Lande Yo and Ben Cottam joining, the tracks exhibit an utterly different personality.
Bedford has a knack for piecing together uncompromisingly strong melodies, his playing ranging from plucked-melancholy to thrashing power chords with unflinching intensity. ‘Blood In My Mouth‘ is a mellow middle, belying the power of the hooks that become the centre-point of the EP. The sugared melodies having become Bedford’s forte, even when at his most sorrowful. Yo and Cottam bring extra attitude to those aforementioned notes, ‘Unqualified Beliefs‘ and ‘Pikelet‘ picking up the scrappy drip of punk-infused hooks from the Cavern floor.
Yet where Selfish Son are at their most emotionally impactful is when they slow things down to a nodding pace. Ben Cottam’s drumming is unhinged and fundamental, sounding like it’s been recorded in the darkest of unlit basements, the fuzzy undercut credited to the live approach they took. Their emotional heft is undeniable, the extended refrains within ‘Shade’ determined in evoking as much fervent response as it can bleed. ‘Daughters‘ is a particular highlight, containing a chorus so defiantly bittersweet you can’t help but feel a marriage of stirring inspiration and crippling desolation. In Lande Yo, Selfish Son has the perfect accompaniment to Bedford’s confounding vocals, the subtle combination of Bedford’s exasperation and Yo’s benevolent calm evoking more sentiment out of the tracks than they could have hoped for.
It transcends across their lyrical output also, Bedford moulding poetic value with stark realism as Yo’s almost haunting coos echo around the instrumental force. In ‘Shade‘ Bedford is occupied with regret – coming across with such relation it acts as a voice of many. Within ‘Blood In My Mouth‘ Bedford casts a bleak picture of defeat; “Written on a paper tea stain / don’t be sad again // think of our maker / that washed away the pain again // still taste the blood in my mouth.” Encompassed by sadness, Bedford’s unable to be completely rid of it’s complexity, almost nearing giving up in trying to fight it’s overwhelming power. His ability to detail melancholy is such a commendable attribute that their music becomes as much a helping hand in aiding complete purification as it does simply inspire hope.
With this self-titled EP, Selfish Son set their own marker for which to work from. It provides an instigative direction for the group to take and ultimately find the harmony between the different levels of pace they take here. The EP provides a prosperous introduction to a completely reinvigorated voice, one that is still trying to find it’s feet but is confidently aiming in the right direction.
‘Selfish Son’ is self-released, and is out now.