“I Am Not” is the first single off the first EP by the newly formed folk duo Bard and Mustache. As far as debuts go, “I Am Not” is a lot of things. Right off the back, lead singer Erin Murphy claims that she is not a “song bird,” and she is also, “unable to put you asleep.” While a musician’s ability to put someone to sleep is not always considered a compliment, with their soothing vocals and comforting cello, it’s easy to argue with Murphy that she is perfectly capable of providing an elegant soundtrack to drift you off into your dreams.
With a steady acoustic guitar blanketed by Greg Bortnichak’s cello consistency throughout the song, there’s multiple times where the cello stands out alone, flickering back and forth like a candlelight in the darkness of Murphy’s lyrics and vocals.
There’s a point at around 3:40 into the song where everything pauses for a moment, and just as Murphy sings, “Your dreams are the ocean,” Bortnichak’s cello accompanies these dreams, sounding like a whale singing off in the distance of this ocean they’ve created.
Then everything concludes together in dramatic fashion, cello, guitar, vocals building up and racing together towards the end, where Murphy concludes the song by stating, “It’s dark and I cannot swim.”
We can only hope that Bard and Mustache do not drown in their own sound and continue making haunting, beautiful songs such as “I Am Not” totally is.