[sic] Magazine

First Glances: Will Blundell & Becca Dunn

The sea can do strange things to a man. Grey and foaming – in most of the UK in any case – it has an undeniable power, capable of great destruction and also of uneasy stillness. Will Blundell’s waters run deep, a singer-songwriter “born by the sea, raised by the sea” and who wants “to live by the sea again”, but who doesn’t “actually like the sea”, he’s a bit of an enigma who, on his debut EP at least, lets fellow Leeds College of Music graduate Becca Dunn do most of his talking. Blundell thus takes vocal only sparingly, leading the way all the same on EP opener, “Tar”, a tender and multi-layered electronic composition over which he spins a widescreen brand of cinematic folk, the track latterly contorting into a twinkling duet with Dunn, her startling falsetto a counterpoint to his soft intonations. The Obey EP will be released on Ramber Records and its side A brings to mind O>L>A’s Call Of The Wild EP on the same imprint. In that vein, the swooning “Wasting Time” is, of course, anything but; heavy-hearted piano repeats give way to subtle brass and Blundell’s barely-there mew, ethereal choral work swelling to a climax pitched between melancholy and triumph.

Though many of the opening exchanges on the Obey EP are musically quite intangible, Dunn makes her presence felt throughout, her performance steadily ramping up as the running order progresses. Her natural, breathy singing voice comes to the fore, for example, on the chilly “Lay Down”, bare-bones instrumentation and her vocal cracks making for an intimate strain of folk music in which slow-drawn strings and an impassioned climax evoke thoughts of Heidi Harris and the Reverb Worship crew. Last and certainly not least is the title track, the Obey EP’s biggest statement by some distance. Militaristic drums initially jar the listen above gentle piano rolls. A buzzed-out rhythm then begins to fill all available space, the rousing result dialling in and out of pretty vocal layering and Dunn’s soaring peaks. It’s the epic the preceding run-time demands and it leaves the listener on a breathless cliffhanger. And does it therefore leave you wanting more? You betcha. Watch the horizon as a man does staring at the sea for their next move.