Monday, August 11, 2008
the bell divers
I've noticed some bands spend their entire musical lives trying desperately to sound like their heroes, falling miserably into that horrible limbo of pastiche. Others, however, nail their sound perfectly first time around, channelling the best of their heroes and adding glimmer and polish to their sparkling sound as they progress. The Bell Divers are my favourite Brisbane band at the moment, and they certainly fall into the latter category. Do you like Postcard-era Go Betweens? Those Orange Juice tracks that sound like the ones Roger McGuinn casually left behind in the studio? Everything on The Lucksmiths' "Where Were We?" compilation? Then you'll love every track on June July, their debut album.
Despite being recorded more than a year ago, yesterday marked the official album launch with a splendid afternoon show at The Powerhouse. These afternoon shows really are something to cherish - after the stellar performances by The Motifs and The Crayon Fields a wee while ago, it was a treat to hear more pop on a Sunday afternoon.
While the songs feature guitar lines straight out of the Pop Songbook and warm organ sounds and harmonies to complement, it's Clinton's darkly wry lyrics that stand out against this shining backdrop. One minute he'll be singing about self-harm, the next he'll pull out a line like, "When we pulled in to the shore, he was pulling out of me". And yet, it all works and has this charm about it that almost makes you forget the heartbreak being sung. The set featured a mix of tracks from the album and some newer songs, one of which I think was called "Pinpoint Eyes", sounds brilliant. Please record some of these newer, more upbeat songs because they are just wonderful!
I've had the guitar line from "Fallen Down" stuck in my head since yesterday - it sounds exactly like the perfect pop guitar lick should, and it ain't going nowhere until my mind can tell me where I've heard it before.
Best of all, June July is available for free download here! But really, you should buy the album so you can get David Thorley's terrific artwork in your little hands. Lovely albums like this don't come out of Brisbane too often, and it's a privilege to finally have The Bell Divers playing out of my stereo at last.