Pick of the Week: Howling Bells – Slowburn

HowlingBellsLowHappeningApril 7th marks the release of Howling Bell’s single ‘Slowburn’,  the first from the highly anticipated album Heartstrings which comes out of a the band’s hiatus like a phoenix from the flame.

Firstly, yes I know I’m late to the party. Howling Bells have been around for donkeys, and I never got into them at the peak of their popularity. ‘Slowburn’ however, made me sit up and pay attention. Better late than never right? I like to think it’s fashionably late, not the kind of late when everything has died down and there are sticky floors and vomit stains on all the pretty boys’ shirts. But anyway.

The track kicks in right away with sugar coated vocals that soar over the grungy guitar that punches along in the background, a perfect start that really sets the tone for where this record is headed. Add to this some punctuating snare and harmonies as beautiful and eerie as the track itself, and this is on for a winner. Although there isn’t much variety in this track, little nuances do pop up as the music bobs along through verse and chorus. In particular, the vocals that interweave themselves with the main melody, like a snake curling around a snake charmer’s arm, are a stunning addition to this song. These vocal flurries add a bit of bite, as they are harsh and discordant but somehow entrancing.

As a whole, this track boasts a plethora of sounds that build up toward a climax making this a music cocktail akin to a whiskey sour – so good, but harsh on the ears at times. All in all, the track lasts about 2 minutes 30, which is about this track’s only downfall. As it nears completion, I was looking and hoping for something more, perhaps a shredding guitar solo, a key change, something new. But it finishes as quickly as it starts, which although was a bit of a disappointment to begin with, it  is actually part of its charm. It’s unconventional in its structure, coming to a rapid conclusion that leaves you wanting more.




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