When reviewing an album from a band I have reviewed before, I always make sure to not read my first review before listening to the new album and making notes. But I can’t help wondering what I thought of this band last time, if I don’t particularly remember. “Did I like them? Do I like them now?” In this case, the answer was yes on both, although I think I may even enjoy The Bell more now - thanks to their new effort, Great Heat.
What’s weird is that if I break up this album into its pieces, it doesn’t look like I should be fond of it. Many of the songs employ minor tones, the vocals are quite filtered, and they sound very '80s, a decade of music I remain wary of. But somehow, put it all together, and I enjoy it. The sound is cinematic, especially the first song, “23 Seconds” – that one wants to be part of an inspiring montage so bad. And the songs are short, just the way I like it; get in, rock out, leave. And some of the songs, with their epic synth use, remind me of my beloved childhood video games, especially the first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” arcade game.
The Bell are from that land that can’t stop churning out the music: Sweden. The songs have an enigmatic alien feel to them. Lead singer Mathias Stromberg doesn’t have a discernable accent (although he does say "holly-day" instead of "holiday"), and there’s no particular reason these beats sound like they come from a different country, but they just do. Something about the lyrics, too: “And get a wife that doesn’t mind your girlfriends, just make sure that you sign all the checks.” I’m not entirely sure what that means - but it works for me.
The Bell - Make Some Quiet
More by this writer:
Brontosaurus - Cold Comes to Claim
The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library - Volume One
Fan Modine - Gratitude for the Shipper
Phineas and the Lonely Leaves - The Kids We Used to Be