Monday, February 25, 2013

Album Review: 'The Reunion' by Bethesda

Review: The Reunion by Bethesda
by Brit Charek

I have to admit, writing this review has been very difficult for me. The toughest thing I find about acting the part of a critic is finding the appropriate words to describe something entirely new. It seems like the only way to do that is to reference something familiar. Usually critics describe something a new record as the secret lovechild of two artists that came before. For example, if you got the Avett Brothers on the same stage with the New Pornographers (that is, if you could find a big enough stage), it might sound like something off of Bethesda's latest album, The Reunion.

The album starts off intimately with just Shanna Delaney's haunting but powerful voice, but the title track quickly picks up speed as the other instruments come in. It just about knocks you over with what feels like a call to arms reminiscent to traditional folk music, with a bit of a modern indie edge.

"My sincere hope is that when the album is done spinning our fans are left with a feeling of hope and joy," says drummer Justin Rife. He went on to talk about the process of making the record and the extreme efforts that everyone went to in order for it to be produced exactly the way they wanted it to be. The band's former producer and engineer, Tim Gerak, had moved to Colorado to work at Mamouth Cave Records. "Despite his best efforts to get away from us," Rife explains, "We all drove to Denver to record this record. We all have day jobs and had to take vacation time to make it work. I was also in school at the time. We were basically living in the studio for a week. Some of us slept in iso booths while others didn't sleep at all."

"This album is the culmination of three albums of discovery pushing us into what would eventually be a cohesive and robust sound," says bassist Dan Corby, "We get put in the category of indie-folk-rock but it goes beyond that with elements of other musical influences from all our diverse music histories. On this new album we've added two new members, violinist Chris Black and guitarist Jesse Scaggs. They both have brought something completely new to the table. Both expanding our sound and giving us new perspective on it."

It's true-- The Reunion carries with it a more mature tone than did Bethesda's previous albums. Although it maintains the same high energy, the motive behind it feels a little darker and more serious. It's intriguing for both old fans and new, and leaves the listener ready for more.

The determination of the band in making The Reunion has certainly paid off. Bethesda has just announced that they are signing with InKind Music and that their new album will be distributed by Sony Music, along with the likes of Mumford & Sons, another indie folk outfit, who won last year's Grammy for Album of the Year.

The Reunion was a fan-funded album, via fundraising website Kickstarter. Even though now they've signed to a big label it's unlikely that Bethesda will forget their fans. When asked his favorite moment in the band thus far  guitarist and banjo player Jesse Scaggs explains, "A new fan approached us after a show completely in tears because she was so moved by our performance. I think we've all connected deeply with a form of art at some point in our lives in a way that's overwhelmed us to tears, or at least close to it. Just knowing that we've done this for at least one person is something that I am so incredibly proud of."

Want to experience Bethesda live yourself? They're having an Album Release Party this Saturday, March 2 at Musica with A Band Named Ashes and Eddie Doldrum. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.

To learn more about Bethesda, visit their website at Also make sure to check out our band profile of them from last summer, written by guest blogger Ash Adams.

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