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Thru' Your Heart - Firebell Ringing

The Pastels

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Album Review

1991 was a fine year for the Pastels. They made it through a rough patch and emerged stronger than ever, boasting a new member, the fabulous Katrina Mitchell, and a new attitude. Between this Thru' Your Heart EP and the Speeding Motorcycle EP, the group was releasing bold and exciting music that reached new levels of feeling and sound. The title track is a melancholy ballad that lopes along prodded by some fine lazy guitar and harmonica. Stephan Pastel's voice has grown deeper and more emotional and he sings like his soul is on the line here. "Firebell Ringing" is a happy slice of nonsense sung winningly by Aggi Wright that helps balance the deep wistful soul on display on "My Heart's My Badge" and "Sign Across Me," two slow, aching Stephan-sung ballads that will melt the heart of friends of the Pastels everywhere. Speaking of their friends, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake adds typically angelic background vocals on the disc. An added bonus found at the end of the EP is Katrina's no-fi home demo of "Thru' Your Heart," which manages to be just as emotionally powerful as the finished version. Maybe it is the rawness of the sound or maybe it is just the sadness of the chords. Either way it is a classic example of the Pastels' direct and open-hearted approach to music. The entire Thru' Your Heart EP is, and if you run across it, you should add it to your collection.

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although virtually unknown outside of indie rock circles, the Pastels were one of the most inspirational and enduring groups of the genre, in their early days spearheading a movement toward a renewed sense of wistful musical primitivism and willful naivete known variously as "shambling" and "anorak pop." In addition, their influence helped bring international notice to a resurgent Scottish musical community, with frontman Stephen Pastel's legendary 53rd and 3rd label helping to launch the careers...
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