12 March 2009
Ah, Howling Bells... how long I have waited for your return. The debut was deliciously dark and lovely, covering your idea of Australia to memorable effect.
But this is hardly the same record. While maintaining their distinctive weeping guitars and the sultry voice of Juanita Stein, the band have gone in a more positive direction, as they put it because they have permanently moved to England. Lovely.
To prove this point, we can compare the lyrics of the opening songs to each of these albums, "The Bell Hit" from the debut and "Treasure Hunt" from this offering. In fact, only a couple of lines need analysing to see that the Bells are moving in a different direction in terms of songwriting. From "Hit": "Promises are empty in a world of emptiness" and from "Hunt": "We are the key that fits". Ooh, differenty.
Still, it's good to hear the new updated sound of the band. Everything is a little more polished, a little more thought out. "Golden Web" and "Digital Hearts" make use of some synths, which are far more prominent on the former.
It'll be interesting to see how these cleaner, slinkier songs sit in with the old ones in a live set. I can't see "Digital Hearts" or "Nightingale" being put together with something as violent as "Wishing Stone" or "Low Happening" but hey, I could be very wrong indeed. The contrast may even be a good point, showing how the Bells have adapted to their new sound and are more comfortable with who they are now in comparison to when they were tied Down Under.