Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Joyland - An Album by the Bedford Incident

The Bedford Incident is a small band from Sheffield, signed to the newly formed label Sci-Fi Records. The first album of the band and indeed the publisher is Joyland, ten completely original songs written by the band with lyrics from vocalist Jamie Lisle and co-composer Jill Farrar. The album has an eclectic, slightly off kilter feel to it sure to make even the most cynical listener feel at least a tinge of nostalgia.

The band fuses together a traditional rock setup with strong vocals, guitars, bass and drums with science-fictionesque synthesisers and some moments of epic orchestration. Throughout it boasts a strong sense of rhythm, upbeat and spooky, the perfect accompaniment to vocalist Jamie Lisle’s strong and enthusiastic vocals belting out sharp and often unexpected lyrics. Occasionally joined by Laura Platt with backing vocals he leaps from rocking choruses to high pitched ballads with considerable ease.

Although the album’s title and first song appears to be a traditional ‘Summer’ this belies their more melancholy sound, yet the band never once gives into its own mawkishness constantly infusing the songs with warmth and happiness throughout, so perhaps autumn is a more accurate month.

Although Joyland is a strong opening and title track, which perfectly showcases the bands talent at both strong lyrics and catchy beats, Siberia is perhaps the standout track. A traditional pop like song it feels like the true showstopper of the album, albeit one a little different in style to the others. Although the beats of these songs are quite traditional, pausing to listen and consider the beautifully constructed lyrics is the clearest clue of where the album will go from here; these songs are certainly something special and something unique in this mainstream band setup.

Although her voice never takes centre stage Laura Platt’s backing vocals fit perfectly behind Jamie Lisle’s strong performance, sometimes forming a somewhat haunting presence, most clearly heard in songs like ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ and ‘Winter Snow’. Some of the slower songs threaten to drag in the middle but every one boasts at least one unique feature to keep you drawn in.

The penultimate song ‘I’m a Cyborg’ returns almost to the styling of the first two tracks, mixing complicated and versatile lyrics with a bold and loud chorus, with some guitar work pulling you in deeper. The finale ‘Fifteen Minutes of Fame’ is a little slower, more rounded song, finally giving into the album’s own sense of nostalgia with a standout ballad where Jamie Lisle gets a chance to really shine as a northern equivalent to Frank Sinatra.

Just over fifty minutes long this is an album that doesn’t have a chance to outstay its welcome. Drifting between musical styles it forges ahead with a new bittersweet hybridisation between electronica, rock and indie. Hopefully by the time you reach the finale you’ll be savouring this excellent journey that switches deftly from being sublime to downright bizarre.

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