With a very limited web presence, and coming from a place I can't really pronounce, Belako's great sound and mystery really intrigued me. The raw punk influences and the ultra-cool NewWave sounds of Belako's Eurie create an interesting mixture of genre.
Piqued with synth melodies and wrapped up in hard strummed guitars, the songs take on a grungy character lacking manners but full of confidence. The band plays full steam ahead throughout the album, releasing a torrent of energy with every power chord. The drums drive a rich, quick beat that induces toe tapping and the band delivers a furry of great quick melodies. Drawing much from great bands like Joy Division and Riot Grrrl, Belako reboots that 80's underground scene.
The lyrics are sung with such cool demeanor. Such laid back careless delivery rarely sounds so good, and the addition of an exotic accent never hinders. Barely above a mumble at some points, she manages to spit out these strong lyrics with this oddly fitting judgmental pretention.
The album is rather "sonically bi-polar", sharply switching between a chill groove and blaring guitars and yelling. I could appreciate it but really enjoyed their mellower side more. I just felt her voice suited these chill wave jams more, and it was these times that I actually felt a connection to the band.
Although I really enjoyed this record, it didn't leave a lasting impression. Besides the rad female vocal there was nothing of much substance, just some really fun music that would be great to party to but is ultimately forgettable.
The Tree Ring
San Diego band The Tree Ring brings together chamber pop and beautiful folk music on their second release Brushbloom. The combination fuses orchestral strings, stirring vocals, acoustic elements and sweeping melodies.
Brushbloom is an eye opening record, so perfectly composed and executed. All too often I hear bands attempt to break into the chamber folk genre only too muddle about, trying to force as much sound as they can through your speakers. Not thinking about telling a story through music as well as lyrics. The Tree Ring seems to have structured out beautiful instrumentals as well as suiting vocal melodies, bringing the two together into a perfect fit. The string quintet sweeps hauntingly throughout the record. The rapid percussion building and breaking, helping to create immense feeling, capped off by the crystal clear vocals spouting poignant poetry. Serenity and excitement stay close together, switching spots with a quick tempo change often within the same song. In this regard, the composition of the album really shines and allows the talent of the artists to really transcend as well.
The lyrics are closely tied to nature and environments, how it changes and how it changes people and things. Tree Ring explores vast themes through this metaphor. The lead vocal is accompanied by a rich chorus, helping to flesh out and balance the already soaring tones.
Brushbloom is an intellectual album, heavy with emotion in both song and lyric. A great example of chamber folk and a greater reminder that music can still be exciting and fresh.