Celebrity cabins, road-trips, boozing, chasing hot girls with names like Ramona and Lorraine — this sounds like an awesome weekend getaway! Toss in some opulent recordings made by music school buddies to chronicle all of your romantic defeats and hardships and you get Night Beds. The Nashville alt-folk outfit has rapidly become a vehicle for singer/songwriter Winston Yellen, peaking with the release of their gorgeous new full-length, Country Sleep.
A sprawling landscape of gliding guitars, electro murmurs, delicate piano, and warm string arrangements, Country Sleep has just enough of a Nashville stamp to be classified as folk. And all that weepy reverb is perfect for 10 songs about loving and losing — all written from the perspective of a sad 22-year-old boy.
Yellen has beautiful vocal depth and staggering control when he reaches for those high notes on “Even If We Try”, right before his voice blossoms into the merciful force that guides that standout track. He’s also got the chutzpah to live out of his truck while he does some soul-searching, but there isn’t much about adolescent life and love that we haven’t heard before. Lines like, “With a heart that always fails / my love’s gone off all the rails / like a ship without a sail / drowning underneath the waves” from “Ramona”, confirm what we already know. It may be best to just turn on the tinklings of “Cherry Blossoms” or “Lost Springs” and let yourself get lost in imagining you’re chasing fireflies in Sherwood Forest — or that you’re drunk off vodka-spiked Sonic slushies, making out with your girlfriend behind the waterfall of Big Kahuna’s Mini Golf.
Either way, Night Beds offer a fine experience to listeners who are looking to hear saccharine pop with limited twang, whereas other listeners — those amenable to hopping on The Waaambulance for 35 minutes — can have a very cathartic experience with Country Sleep. If anything, the sentimentality allows the album to resonate longer, while the exquisite production enchants those who aren’t interested in consoling or taking love advice from Yellen.
But you know what they say: If you’re old enough to fall in love, you’re old enough to buy a lotto ticket and go to jail.
Essential Tracks: “Ramona”, “Even If We Try”, and “Wanted You In August”