Willis Earl Beal
Tender Loving Empire
Willis Earl Beal = Lewis + Curtis Harding / Moses Sumney
The term outsider, in music, refers to a musician that separates himself from the commercial music industry and from the conventional rules of music making. This is exactly the kind of artist Willis Earl Beal is. Noctunes is his second album since parting ways with XL Records subsidiary, Hot Charity, in an attempt find peace and create on his own terms.
It’s perfect for nighttime listening in solitude with its mix of synths, light percussion and Beal’s voice. Beal has the most soulful vocals I’ve ever heard from my generation, and the music he creates echoes the passion and sadness that exists in original gospel and blues.
Beal has referred to this album as, "a perfect, and intentionally minimal, collection of lullabies that (he) often self-medicates with." It's a fascinating record that's reminiscent of the soft yet brooding atmospheres created by David Lynch in Twin Peaks. Beal seems to have accomplished his dream in a roundabout way. The fame he was interested in, but couldn't tolerate, brought him the fan base he continues to serve on his own terms with memorable albums like this one.
(Originally published in SLUG Mag)
Read our philisophical interview with Willis Earl Beal here.