Bell Hollow


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If any reminder was needed of the incestuous relationship between post-punk, early new wave, goth, and later, shoegazers and dream poppers, Bell Hollow's Sons of the Burgess Shale EP provided a crucial primer. In the space of four songs, the band zapped the zeitgeist of heady days between punk's final funeral pyre and the phoenix-like rise to success from its ashes of the New Romantics. The band's full-length follow-up Foxgloves is a bit more finely focused, as the quartet prune away some of the stray musical branches (rockabilly, funk, and the artier homages among them), to better showcase the soul of the age -- the blindingly beautiful morose atmospheres. A shimmering shadow even darkens the sublimely infectious "Copper Crayon," a lust-themed song that channels both the spirits of Vince Ely-era Depeche Mode and Faith era Cure. And the Cure's specter haunts this set, rattling around the brittle atmosphere of the delicate "Eyes Like Planets," and looming in the shadows of "Lowlights," a song spun with Pornography's heavy atmosphere as it journeys musically into the abyss. In contrast, songs like "Jamais Vu," "Storm's End," and "The Bottle Tree" all explore dark dance, the propulsive rhythms juxtaposed against droning guitars, evocative melody, and a throbbing bassline, respectively. "Getting on in Years" slots neatly into this section, even as it dips into the Smiths territory, a realm further explored on the glorious "Seven Sisters." The deft sequencing mirrors an eclipse, gradually moving the set into darkness, the brighter, lighter, opening numbers dissipating as the album progresses. As always, the lyrics are wonderfully obscure, the imagery captivating, their meanings allegorical and marvelously malleable. The music, meanwhile, is magnificent, the melodies powerful, while the moods are impossible to shake long after the final note is played. A mesmerizing album that will haunt listeners for years to come.

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