Track Review: Beau Boulden: Unfold

‘Providing further evidence of his distinctive and musically diverse sound, it’s a truly stunning release.’

Intro to Beau Boulden
Previously receiving both huge support from BBC Introducing South, Sussex-based solo artist Beau Boulden returns with ‘Unfold’, a track that truly welcomes us into his world. Already proving the breadth of his musical versatility via the rhythmically driven debut ‘Talk to Me’ and the heartfelt ‘You Will Always Be’, with this new release Beau brings a sound that isn’t typified by genre. In addition to the gorgeous musicality though, Beau also metaphorically links to his experiences of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. with the topic of the track relating to it in a way that focuses on acceptance, and knowing when to accept something you cannot change. This, in his words “may be a situation, how somebody feels about you, or even how you feel about yourself.” Taking this connection further, in him developing complementary creative skills during lockdown, the self-painted track artwork titled ‘OCD’ visually depicts what the release represents. If you’ve heard Beau Boulden’s releases to date, or even if you haven’t, Unfold is a must-listen.

Track Review
Instantly providing the contrasting musicality that Beau has very much promised us, reverb-warmed lyricism, glitchy atmospherics, and an array of samples make their presence known. Given the impassioned sound of 2020’s releases – where powerful soaring vocals took centre stage – it is as different as can be. But this is of course in the best way. A way that highlights the diversity and creativity held within the career he is crafting. Then, with tempo being found the most beautifully processed combination of half-time electro-beats and synth motifs infuse the soundscape in a way that enables us to fully experience without them being overpowering. For us, this also means that we can fully experience Beau’s wonderous vocals too. 

Seamlessly blending with one another, every line that makes its way into our ears carries a meaning that connects every time. Relating to the topic of toxic relationships, phrases such as ‘This isn’t a good idea’ and ‘You tell me to take your hand’ are touchingly delivered. They feel heartfelt, honest, and via an effortlessly controlled tone, you are continually struck by the beauty of them. As a listener, you are as engaged with the track as you could ever wish to be, and with the musicality truly blossoming on reaching the chorus, you become even more emotionally invested.

“Unfold is a song about the process of trying to accept a feeling you cannot seem to change. Sometimes it
seems like the right way to be feeling, but you know, deep down, it will never end up being good for you.
You know that it’s wrong but you have almost lost yourself within your own powerlessness; you have started to unfold.”
Beau Boulden

Almost appearing out of nowhere, after a more exposed vocal of ‘When you already have your love’ a sea of sustained textures wash over us in a way that can’t quite be explained. To be honest, it was this transition and the ensuing sound that first drew us to work alongside Beau when we heard the release. There is something extra special about the moment where everything combines like the most carefully painted work of art. Yes, that’s it actually. A sonic work of art. It makes you breathe deeply and experience a catharsis that makes you feel like everything will be ok. It may seem like a lot, but when you hear it you’ll completely understand.

Shifting back into verse content, the meaning within becomes ever-embellished with the lyricism taking on a mirrored form of the first. Where phrases such as ‘there aren’t any boundaries here’ and ‘I can not understand why you want me to hurt myself’ occurred, lines including ‘You say that you care for me’ and ‘You always lead me to hurt myself’ carry a different meaning to before. Equally, with the change drawing us further into the storytelling – and heartwrenching levels of emotion coming through – when the chorus resurgence of ‘I thought I had this under control… I’m about to Unfold.’ appears, it hits more strongly than you can imagine.

With the atmosphere growing throughout, as we make our way into the latter moments of the track the sparseness, and the vocal motif of the opening, returns in an extended form. Almost meditative and healing, its renewed inclusion confirms the beauty held within it when first experienced. Truly soothing us, it completely proves Beau’s prowess as an artist. To break away from the lushness may be considered a risk. But at this point, in this track, it’s a phenomenally understated moment that works phenomenally well. Furthermore, in it setting up a stunning sonic reconstruction infused with palm-muted electric guitar and sparkly synths, as well as the most gorgeous blend of falsetto main vocals and multi-tracked harmonic melodies, you feel a genuine connection with everything you’ve experienced.

‘Unfold’ by Beau Boulden is produced and mixed by Chris Coulter (Decimal Studios) and is out everywhere now.

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