BELLES WILL RING
Dot Dash / Inertia
On the edge of town, lurking in the shadows, is where you’ll find Crystal Theatre, the second full-length recording from Blue Mountains collective, Belles Will Ring, a literal headfuck of a record, as layered as a Queenslander in the depths of a southern winter, squalls of guitar noise buffeting your brain – screams, yelps and howls and a country/blues/pop nous which serves to bodily shove this record further up your mental tailpipe.
At 13 tracks, Crystal Theatre is as epic a record as you’ll hear all year, and yet you can’t imagine anything being left out – from the brief title instrumental, through to buoyant closer, ‘Pallisade Alley’, everything is precisely in place; the build and build of songs like ‘Come To The Village’ and ‘Do You Know What I See?’, the acoustic lethargica of ‘I Hear Your Voice On The Wind’ and ‘Like A Boxer’, all are there for a reason, the kicker being that you don’t know what the reason is, it just all washes over you in wave after glorious wave of guitar music, light as air and heavy as hell.
There are some surprising moments buried deep within Crystal Theatre too – the light use of horns on ‘Come North With Me Baby, Wow’ (which is then backed by some of the finest guitar on the record, which is saying something), and the harmonica on ‘Trouble In Deepwater’ which cuts deep and serves to show even more of the versatility this group is capable of. Crystal Theatre is a deep, dark summer storm of a record, set amongst the cold isolation of nowhere in particular, and this is what makes it so great, a stellar effort to be sure.
Samuel J. Fell
(published in Inpress Magazine (Melb), 1st June '11)