At 19 songs, Bevel‘s Twin Knowledge (Maroon Desert Fountain) is interesting before one even listens to it, and now that I’ve listened to it, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I like it 50/50, and here’s why.
Musically and stylistically, Bevel goes to and through a lot of places, never resting in one location at any given time, and normally I like that, but it was hard to figure out a unified platform of sorts. On most of the album, the man behind Bevel, Via Nuon, shows his expertise as a storyteller. It doesn’t matter if he’s being direct or abstract, Nuon does this quite well and primarily through different textures of folk and indie pop. When he starts to sing like a guy from the 60’s who hung out in a lot of Greenwich Village folk clubs, my mind goes elsewhere and I’m not sure whether to move to the next song or keep at it to know about the mission Bevel is creating for himself. However, as a means to cleanse the pallet, there will be an instrumental that borders on progressive rock passages or interludes, or some nice rural surf movie music from the early 1970’s. At times, I found myself enjoying the instrumental pieces more than some of the vocal tracks, with the emphasis on “at times”.
What I did enjoy about Twin Knowledge is that each story (even the instrumentals, which count as a musical story) comes and goes fairly quickly, at two-and-a-half minutes or less. He sounds like that guy you might catch at a farmer’s market with a hat by his feet, ready for people to throw change, not many people paying attention to him but there’s something from him that makes you want to listen, even the irritable things. I don’t know if others would call this alt.folk or alt.prog.folk or whatever mixture of words made to sound like a Usenet group but there is that something that makes me want to listen, at least in part.
(The vinyl pressing of Twin Knowledge can be pre-ordered directly from the store at Bevel.org.)