Reviews

Mr. Bewlay


Artist: Mr. Bewlay
Single: Live, Laugh, Love
Release Date: 20.5.22
Label: SWND Records SWNDBEW01
Distribution: PYST

Bold and charismatic, an intoxicating charm blazes from the flamboyant powerhouse and emerging talent, that is Mr Bewlay.” Becky and the Bands

“There is no man more committed to the pursuit of staying relevant. A true pop star in the making!” Adam Walton

The UK Art Pop extraordinaire Mr Bewlay has established himself as the paramount voice for the unorthodox. Currently based in Cardiff, Bewlay’s scope is far reaching with his tendency to bend gender, genres, and styles. Playing by nobody’s rules but his own, his live shows have become well noted for their unpredictability. Like the royal courts of old, Bewlay’s command of the crowd is absolute, and they bend to his whim in both quiet awe and reckless abandon.

Beginning his career under the mentorship of the Forte Project, Bewlay has pushed himself into releasing his ‘Electric Reason’ Trilogy which saw him expand his sound with the addition of synth-heavy, funk grooves and sweet retro-inspired pop hits. In addition, he has played sold out headliner shows in prestigious venues such as Porters, Queens Hall, and Ill Repute. As a champion for LGBTQ activism, he has also given talks and performed at Queer festivals and shows with the On Your Face Collective. Recently he has signed with SWND Records, and he is set to release his next wave of music with their backing.

With a breadth of sound ranging from retro-spiced pop, to quiet reflective solo pieces, Bewlay’s unpredictability is also found in his music. With influence coming from artists such as David Bowie, St. Vincent, and Parquet Courts, Bewlay remains in a lane of his own with bombastic vocals, extravagant style, and lyrics of the utmost originality. There is little in his way towards inevitable ascension.

Be it Mista, Misses or King or Queen, they all fall under Bewlay’s everything.

Live, Laugh, Love Writing Process by Mr. Bewlay The process of ‘Live, Laugh, Love’s’ inception is as multifaceted as most things Bewlay are. Originally written as a joke lyrically, a song to not only empower older women but also to tear their aesthetics down. Relying on the meme of the ‘Karen’ with their hollow tastes and tacky sentimentality. The lyrics however were not sarcastic, instead portraying a neutrality to the situation and relying on absurd imagery of middle-aged women’s slogans tattooed on faces and blasting out of stereo systems.

What was imagined to be a joke soon morphed into something more compelling once the original demo was shown to friends and colleagues. A divide was started. On the one hand were those who chuckled and smiled at the unorthodox song topic, and on the other were those who felt appalled by it. Those insulted said that the themes of the song were off putting, saying that some lyrics felt predatory, or that the song was exploitative.

The intended lyrics were innocent, but this reaction was too good to pass up. Bewlay’s previous released song ‘Wobbegong’ also garnered some grumblings from those who read the lyrics at face value, the chorus which stated ‘I am a Great White Man’ was not a personal reference from the writer but a sarcastic proclamation from the songs subject. With that in mind ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ continues this tradition of prodding at the belly of the beast waiting for a reaction. There is no value from shock, except immediate reaction.

The song was recorded at King’s Road Studios in July 2021 with producer Sanders. The intention was to emulate the garage punk sound from bands such as Bass Drum of Death and Wavves, but also to include glam elements from acts like Walt Disco. Compared to the releases of his previous work, there was some trepidation about the hard shift in style and genre from Bewlay’s previous work. However, his songwriting continuity and his prevalence for weirdness kept the sound in tandem with his early tracks.

The track was written to be as bare bones as possible, relying on a smash and grab approach. No intro, no outro, no riffs and only a short solo to shake listeners out of their shocked silence. The trumpet solo was provided by the amazingly talented Laurence Collier of Afro Cluster fame who came down and put to audio the wailing, flamenco inspired solo!

Mr. Bewlay – Live, Laugh, Love (20th May 2022)

Mr. Bewlay – Intro

Mr. Bewlay – Wobbegong

Mr. Bewlay links:
Band/Artist location – Cardiff Wales
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