This groovy Americana n’ soul banger opens with a semi-psychedelic orchestral sound, leading into mellow but driving instrumentation as Walker delivers his captivating his first verse. Before long, Downes’ warm backing vocals lend support, lifting the song to new heights. There’s a strong vintage vibe that rings throughout, making it feel like it could just as easily be from 1973 instead of 2023.
Somewhat reminiscent of Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino era Arctic Monkeys with an Americana twist, “Bend” has an undeniable rhythm and sparkling magic to it. Its pulsing bass line and scathing guitar solo keep every measure fresh and exciting, and Walker’s raspy voice perfectly contrasts Downes’ soft and sweet vocals.
With the line “Everything took too much time” repeating throughout the song, the audience is led to consider the progression of their own lives and feel the conflicting feelings that Walker and Downes are omitting.
Both artists bring their own unique musical skill, talent, and energy to “Bend.” Walker’s vocals and instrumentals (guitar, drums, synthesizer) were written, produced, mixed, and mastered by Walker at Alley Oaks Studio in Austin, and Downes’ vocals were recorded at Jamdek Recording Studio in Chicago. Jacob Combs is featured on piano while Markus Jones plays bass on the track.
Both natives of The Lone Star State, Walker and Downes have each been honing their songwriting chops for many moons. Walker has said that upon attending a screening of The Phantom of the Opera with a live organist accompaniment in his early childhood, “the musical themes terrified [him] and introduced [him] to the power of instrumental music to tell stories.” Ever since then, he’s been creating music that does exactly that: tell stories.
Downes on the other hand has “been singing [her] whole life.” In an interview we conducted with her last year, she said that she has “notebooks full of lyrics from as early as fourteen years old.” Her singing and songwriting has naturally matured greatly since then, leading her to make a name for herself as “the sad cowgirl of Chicago,” which is where she currently resides. She released her EP, Spent, last June, and a killer cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” last October.
Walker will be performing in Marathon, TX on Saturday, October 7th at The 4th Annual Celebration of the Life & Music of John Prine, while audiences can catch Downes at one of her many upcoming performances in the Chicago area.