Bellini: The Precious Prize Of Gravity

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David Morris

11th February 2010
At 12:01 GMT

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Once again I’m at a loss to cover a band’s naked energy with various genre shaped fig leaves.

I don’t know what it is but it sounds good in the flesh. The guitar is tense & taught, tight frenetic strumming scours every string a good few times before moving to the riff’s next configuration. The bass playing is totally inspired, playing devotedly to the feel of the song, listing up and down, left and right, but with the musical ability to match his/her inclinations. The singer recalls early PJ Harvey and Elisa Ambrogio of Magik Markers. She frequently retires from the microphone creating a distance between me and her words, but make no mistake, there is precious little distance between her and her words. It sounds like they’re buried under her finger nails and bound in her hair.

Within the three and a half minutes of opener ‘Wake Up Under a Truck’ I felt like I’d travelled a long way whilst my imagination had been very much occupied with sound and I even felt like I knew this band a little. I haven’t seen the cover, and I don’t know what the members are called or what they look like, but I feel like I’ve seen some of the things they’ve seen. I feel like I can see their practice space, the place where they became some proper honed little blighters. I’m so enthusiastic about their music that I’m naively hoping the record sleeve that arrives when I buy a real copy contains no information about them whatsoever. I certainly won’t be looking for them on Facebook. This music has nothing to do with Facebook

I neglected to mention the awesome drummer back along, mostly because I tried working some sentence in about how he was “pounding” the “kit” and lost heart entirely. But the drums are a very good place to start with some further reconnaissance. This is the most attractive production I have heard on a guitar/bass/drums/vocal quartet in some time. It’s probably not clever and it’s certainly not heavy-handedly “arty” but it sounds three dimensional in my bedroom and I can’t imagine a better way to convey these people right into the heart of my lust for life. Straight in, hole in one. Let’s dance. Every element has its place, passionately entwined but without some marketable murkiness ruining everything for us discerning types. They don’t bother with a lot of high-end frequencies, that’s good, though as my housemate remarked there is definitely a saxophone shaped hole on a few songs. But not every hole needs filling does it? 

The drums have that dead meat thwack thing going on at times, but at others they are crystal clear and at others they roll like rocks in crisp surf. The various drums get divided across the left and right speakers but pretty much seamlessly, creating space rather than awareness of any technique. He switches things up a lot but like the rest of this band he works for the spirit of the song, no spotlight activity. Four highly skilled sculptors in a hurry, working together for the common good of humankind…. 

The songs are also top notch. I’m at a loss to explain how four people playing rock music can hold my attention so thoroughly again without a trace of psych in sight, (preferring an almost austere stripped down sound), how they can be so invigorating and so effectively channel my current angst without pulling any Controlled Atmosphere Packaging tricks (y’know, the gas they put in supermarket salad bags that forestalls the long overdue wilting until you’ve paid the bill and arrived back at that “home” you’re working all of your time to hire).  

Not one of their delightful twitches outstays its welcome, not a single riff. Having just realised that the singer also sounds a lot like Kim Gordon I’m moved to say that Bellini sound just like I hoped at least one Sonic Youth record would sound. I like Sonic Youth on paper you see, apparently I haven’t heard their best records, but having heard some others I really can’t believe that it’s not time to call off the search. There are also elements of Fugazi, Source Tags and Codes-era And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (but way less lofty). Speaking of lofty, here’s a slightly obscure reference, The Orthotonics. A good friend put an Orthotonics tune called ‘This Time it Looks Like You’ on a mix cd he gave me, and this reminds me of it.  

Whoah! Who’s this dude? Yeah, even more Sonic Youthy, maybe I actually do like Sonic Youth, maybe I’m prejudiced, because I surely like this. Oh… maybe this isn’t art… Maybe that’s it. Maybe I don’t like Sonic Youth after all. That outburst concerned a male vocalist appearing out of nowhere towards the end of an excellent song called ‘The Thin Line’. This record maintains its momentum, and that’s saying something. If you know what I mean when I say that I deeply love a band who plug away at one almost monochromatic dynamic but somehow manage to create diverse multicoloured images and emotions, then trust me and take some time with this record.  

Rating:  8 / 10

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