Like Bells, Like Bells

Like Bells, Like Bells

Like Bells is a violin-led, mostly instrumental trio from Antioch, Ohio. The music on their self-titled debut is sort of a cross between Dirty Three and Mono, embracing quieter lyrical moments as well as some louder rock. They borrow more from Mono than anybody else — a lot of their melodies sound strongly like Mono — but their sound is more varied than Mono generally is.

Unfortunately, they need to borrow more from those groups. While the songs themselves have a few nice lines, the band rarely comes up with enough for an entire song. The best song here is “The Streets Themselves,” which has a pretty guitar line opening the song and a nice, intense chorus. “Atlas,” however, is more typical of the songs here: a pretty verse violin and guitar line, but an odd chorus that’s mostly just bombast without any interesting going on. Sadly, songs like “Where is the White?” are just as common, songs which have no real melodies to them and are just kind of pointless.

They also subvert the songs by adding contrasting ideas that just don’t work. A couple of songs use keyboards and processed instrumental sounds that are really silly. “Searching Now” wrecks an otherwise decent song by incorporating some really cheesy processed keyboard and violin. In “Can I Say Something to You?,” they don’t manipulate in those kinds of ways, but the big rock chorus is just overwrought and pointless.

Like Bells tries hard, but a lot of it just doesn’t work. They have some nice moments, but those moments aren’t enough to make a record. And the processing that they did to the record further shoots themselves in the foot. They have some nice intros and verses, and if they wrote songs took from those quieter moments, they could significantly improve their songs — more of a Dirty Three idea than a Mono idea. But as it is, Like Bells doesn’t really work.

(Exit Stencil Recordings -- 16101 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, OH. 44110;; Like Bells --
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Review by . Review posted Friday, June 12th, 2009. Filed under Reviews.

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