Monday, January 25, 2010

The Howling Bells

One of the main problems with music being reduced to electronic files is that in a silly slip up or simple misplacement, loads of sings can be lost or at least forgotten. Which is not to say I'm against music as easily portable data, but it makes one have to be that much more vigilant. Unfortunately, The Howling Bells fell prey to my lack of vigilance. I've had this record for a while but it somehow hadn't made it onto my iPod. Another blogger's "'best of' mix' reminded me of them again, so I remedied the situation and am richer for it.

I'll come right out and admit the overwhelming similarity between The Howling Bells and The Cardigans. From the timbre of the lead singers' voices to their beauty, as well as the meter of the songs and some of the lyrical content, the similarities cannot be ignored. I will give the Swedes the upper hand though, because of their knack for stamping each release with a distinct flavor and sound that made each record totally unique and yet almost always a success.

The Howling Bells do not have that sense of artistic flourish yet, but what they do have is a warm, inviting and attractive sensibility that is worthy of your attention. Their lack of experimentation does tend to leave me a bit less than lovestruck, but I'm definitely interested. perhaps the sound is a bit late 90s but with all of the reunions and the like, there don't seem to be many acts making this kind of music right now, so The HBs are a welcome change. It feels as though, The Howling Bells have a sound in mind and will make that sound, no matter what is de rigueur. There is cooing sensuality, but it's never sappy, and the songs are first and foremost considerably "catchy" rather than some grand brooding of the moment allusion. Besides another AEC fave, The Duke Spirit, this feminine take on rock/pop is wanting right about now. Bat For Lashes, Florence and the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds and the like all seem to be channeling Fleetwood Mac or Kate Bush. The Bells seem to avoid those currents and keep on their own course. And hopefully that course will bring their third record (due out later this year) as a fully fledged vision of who they are and what they sound like, sans the hippest of now.

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Blogger Cockfosters said...

9:47 PM  

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