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Sons of the Burgess Shale - EP

Bell Hollow

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Album Review

From the first dramatic sweep of the synth, ten seconds into Sons of the Burgess Shale's title track, one is catapulted across the Atlantic and back in time a quarter of a century. The funk-fueled bassline, stuttering drum pattern, and shadowed atmosphere heighten the effect, surely Bell Hollow have crawled out from the wreckage of the British post-punk, pre-new wave scene. This, the band's sophomore release, is yet another tribute to that highly innovative yet quickly forgotten (until recent times) musical hiccup between the death of punk and the international success of the New Romantics. The title track hones in on the more dance-fired end of the spectrum, pulling together the swirling sounds of goth with the funk-fired rhythms of the disco, with a dusting of more modern styles that draw a straight line between the past and present. "Bodies, Rest and Motion," in contrast, brilliantly connects all the dots between the eclectic styles of the age, from the proto-goth rockers through the post-punkers with atmospheres (i.e. the Cure), and even future stadium rockers like U2. "Secret Key" unlocks even more doors, winding down gothic alleys to discover that genre's connections to rockabilly, and thus Morrissey, Gene, even Radiohead, and with a couple of "whoo-hoos," Blur. The guitar laced "Shukriya Moon" tips a hat to Television, Japan (inevitably), and even Ryuichi Sakamoto. Darkly shimmering atmospheres drench the entire set, but it's the strong rhythms and astute interplay between the synth and guitar that is the building block of Bell Hollow's haunting, evocative sound. The lyrics, suitably obscure, mean nothing and everything, leaving plenty of opportunity for listeners to wrestle and read what they will into them. A fabulous set, a dissection of an entire age, and a wonderful reimagining of times long gone and yet to come.

Sons of the Burgess Shale - EP, Bell Hollow
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