Howling Bells – Howling Bells

Howling Bells - Howling BellsWell, since I’ve been here for a couple of months now, I think it’s about time I actually wrote about an Australian band. It’s been strange being over here for a couple of months and not being exposed to the usual music outlets. I’m still getting copies of NME about 2 weeks behind their release date, whilst other magazines are a couple of months out. It has some benefits though: I’ve yet to hear songs by Lily Allen and Orson yet. But I’ve been able to keep up with things through websites and watching a late night video show called Rage on the ABC channel. Thanks to all them, I’m still spending far too much on CDs, but hey whattya gonna do? The Howling Bells are a four piece piece, led by frontwoman Juanita Stein who has a tough, but silky voice that suits their music well. It’s a dark, hazy mix of Gothic country and glacial indie rock, a la Interpol.

The thing that first stuck me about the album is the production; Ken Nelson’s done a really good job of taking a band consisting of just guitar, bass and drums and making it sound spacious and claustrophobic at the same time. The guitar’s chime and echo, but the drum’s and Juanita’s voice sound close and intimate. “Velvet Girl” has some great double tracked vocals and harmonies that fit in really well with the chiming guitar. “Low Happening” has a great thumping drum beat and cool-sounding fuzzy guitar break. It is a dark album however, there’s few “la la” sing-along moments. “Setting Sun” soars with it’s beautiful vocals, but it’s not what you would call uplifting. Overall if you like bands like Mazzy Star, Sons & Daughters and early PJ Harvey you’d do well to get this album. It’s only their debut but Howling Bells have created an album that’s got a fairly original sound. It’s a pretty concise album fits in 12 tracks in just over 40 minutes.

Howling Bells – Broken Bones

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