Bell and the Ringers is a band from Australia that recently released their debut EP entitled Love is a Crow. The EP is demo quality which at the very least gives you an idea of the band's sound. At this point they have a fairly general sound that isn’t particular niche to themselves or any sub-genre.
The influences are broad but the lead singer sounds a lot like Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie. He contains a childish, naivety to his vocals that is very similar. The most unique aspect are the juxtaposed vocals. It's a mixed bag. At its most alarming it reminds me of a play or comedic theater. Take for instance “She Knows it's Not Right.” The song starts off sounding like a Death Cab for Cutie song. The other vocalist sounds hyperbolic as if he is imitating a pirate for better or for worse.
“So Go (Feat. Rachel Wheatley)” fares a bit better and just seemed to more consistent with the emotional energy of the song. The highlight is “Helping Hand.” The vocalist’s delivery comes off a little like an “aww schuck” type of personality which is on the line of going overboard. They end with another solid song “Flag at Half Mast” which is stripped back and has heartfelt vocal performances.
The band is off to a good start but I have some advice. The band gets awfully close to sounding too similar to Death Cab for Cutie with the vocals and the music. They need to be aware of this and try to distance themselves. The production will have to improve if they hope to compete with notable acts. There are issues with compression, EQ and separation that is not consistent with each song.
The band is writing pretty basic pop songs at this point. They have some good ideas but I have a feeling they will evolve as they are such a newly formed band. I can basically guarantee there will be strides in their development if they continue to keep at it. Keep your eye on them.
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