Review: Howling Bells - Radio Wars

G'day folks! Howling Bells have succeeded in expanding their range of melancholy graininess into a forte of songwriting which is both formidable and peculiar. Radio Wars showcases some of the old genius from their self-titled debut album, yet also imbeds new and unexplored shades of beautiful darkness into their style. The first album was certainly not a one-off then.

Lead singer and rhythm guitaristJuanita Stein's sumptuous and wistful voice is like melting chocolate throughout Radio Wars. Gee, I could listen to her voice for hours.However, it is that voicebookended with clever lyrics and unexpected guitar hooks that makes this album so listener friendly, maybe more so than their first album. It may beslightly less intense and more diluted, but I have a feeling this will draw more listeners, hmm. The masses need pleasing folks, and Howling Bells are pulling out all the stops to do just that.

The spectrum of Australian rock is growing ever wider with the psychedelic timewarp that is Tame Impala on the west coast and Howling Bells on the east. It's all positive stuff - along with many other bands coming out of the woodwork on the far side of the world, it's like a pleasant burst of hot air in the face to see a resurgence of good guitar-based rock bands coming into the fray from anywhere other than the UK and USA.

So, Howling Bells have still got the attitude and the songs. They paint their music on a technicolour canvass of love and loss and create a dreamlike outback landscape that you can lose yourself in for fifty minutes. They are possibly the best thing to come out of Australia since Nicole Kidman. Nice work!


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  • Howling Bells and Tame Impala both play VFestival Australia 2009 - buy your tickets now!

  • read Greg Rose's Howling Bells gig review

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