Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Bell Hollow-Bell Hollow

March 1, 2006

bell-hollowBand Name: Bell Hollow
Album Name: Bell Hollow
Best Element: The clean melodies that intertwine within the songs

Genre: ’80s UK post-punk with nocturnal alt-rock
Website: www.bellhollow.com
Label Name: None
Band E-mail: bellhollow-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Pull up a chair, throw on a black light, sit back, and relax to the soft sounds of Bell Hollow, a Brooklyn-based quartet working hard to put the gentle back into gentlemen. Their self-titled EP, released in the fall of 2005, does just that. With songs that bring to life the long-gone yet missed voices of The Smiths and even the softer Tears for Fears, Bell Hollow’s tracks deliver a pure, simple message with intertwining melodies and pitch-perfect delivery.

Opener “Our Water Burden” kicks off with a delicate guitar lead that sets the tone for the rest of the EP. Immediately the tender yet full tapping of Australian-born Hayden Millsteed kicks in on drums, accompanied by the solid plugging of bassist Christopher Bollman. Greg Fasolino plays his guitar with ease, blending his high-toned leads with clean palm-muted rhythms to layer the texture of each song. His tone compliments vocalist/synth player Nick Niles’ flowing vocals, whose ability to croon words and switch from mid to high range in an instant adds greatly to the music, transforming the voice into an instrument in and of itself.

The highlight track of the EP is second track “Lowlights”, which is kicked into gear with a Bollman-supplied low, melodic bassline. As the song generates, Niles often leads the music with soft falsetto subtleties while Fasolino carries the melody on his guitar. Bell Hollow’s instruments and vocals both transition smoothly from chugging verses to haunting choruses and back. “Late Night” has much the same feel as “Our Water Burden”, but with a little more of an upbeat feel to it. The EP ends with the musically intriguing “Getting On In Years”, a mixture of ethereal guitars and synth.

One disappointment on this EP is that Niles’ vocals don’t quite fit the words he’s singing. The lyrics yell “Come on girl, I’ve made it more than clear. Come on girl, I’m getting on in years”; however, Niles’ gentle vocals don’t seem to match up with the words he’s singing. The words scream frustration, but the vocals croon melancholy bliss.

Overall the EP is a great mood-setter for those days we find ourselves wanting peace. Bell Hollow is the answer.

-Erik Williams

Endlesscreed@charter.net

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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