Bethan has discovered an intriguing sound that floats along the periphery of the last century on the aptly titled Time Gone By.
With an EP — 2012’s Chapter 1 — that was by all accounts a solo affair, Jessi Hall and husband Daniel aspired to develop Bethan into a more organic band. Relocating from New York City to Dallas, Texas, the Halls added Becki Howard (violin), Kevin Howard (keys) and Jesse Hopkins (bass) to release Time Gone By,a debut that finds Bethan as an entirely different act.
Retaining Chapter 1’s theatrical bent, Time Gone By transports the band to Berlin's golden 1920s. Mirroring the artistic enlightenment of that decade, Hall channels Kurt Weill on the tinkling carousel serenade "In Our Paris" and the mercurial "Beside Me". Setting the tone from the outset of Time Gone By with the wilting opener "Low Expectations", a questioning worldview resides on the campy, deflating piano ballad "We Are All Expiring", the symphonic "Melancholia" and closing adagio "Don't Be Afraid to Lie to Yourself". Hall's buoyant vocals hover over the wistful "Out West" and the creeping beat of album standout "I Need a Pill to Help Me Sleep", a fantastical haze of cinematic black and white dreams.
Produced by McKenzie Smith (Midlake), this new iteration of Bethan has discovered an intriguing sound that floats along the periphery of the last century on the aptly titled Time Gone By.