‘A phenomenally wild, incredibly musical ride that twists you, turns you and almost completely rips you apart!’
Intro to Bellflower
Hailing from Montreal, 8-piece band Bellflower may have many musicians but they have even more to say. Releasing their debut album ‘The Season Spell’ in 2016, they delivered everything that had to offer at the time. Sure it was beautifully chilled in places and packed a punch in others, but as the past few years have gone by, that initial sound has taken on somewhat of a development. So, with their 2018 single ‘Hold On’ giving us a teaser of what has happened since then and 2019’s ‘You’ doing so even more, today’s album release – from which this is the title track – sees them push their musicality to the limit.
Forcefully hitting us with a wall of sound, vowel-centred vocals and a myriad of chaotically clashing fragments crash into our ears. It’s not relaxing. Not one bit. In fact, it’s almost completely unsettling. But, if you’re wondering whether this track is for the faint-hearted or not, stick with it as there’s generous creativity, an abundance of musicality and soothing, yes soothing sounds to be had.
With an opening section that proves ideas aren’t something Bellflower are short of, it would be hard to not react in some way. However, embracing the chaos is key to the track. Sure the accompaniment of heavily distorted guitars, cross-rhythmical synths and hectic drumming doesn’t provide the most predictable of backings to the soaring vocals, but that’s the point. Unpredictability is what the whole track is about and giving way we get the first of many opportunities to experience it.
Given what we have just heard, there are probably a few things you may expect to happen. A continuation of the onslaught. A retention of the driving textures maybe. However, the chances are you wouldn’t be expecting to have an increasing number of chills sent over your body! To keep the intrigue of just how this is achieved – and so as to give as little away as possible – it’s probably best to stick to these three things: delicate guitar lines, soft vocals and selective horn-centred harmonies.
Working together as they do, it makes you completely forget the former, highly intense sound. When you hear the track may think this is impossible, but honestly, it really does. Like I said earlier, there are soothing sounds to be had. And when you get to them, like right now, allow yourself to breathe and prepare for the next resurgence that is soon to come. Very soon in fact. However, in reasserting the hectic musicality, when the sound shifts once again it, takes us even further away.
Casting aside the musical collisions for a second time, the sound revealed is even dreamier and more float-inducing than before. Switching to give the impression of triplet time once more, the interweaving, heavenly jazz harmonies sit above unpredictably accented percussion and underneath equally heavenly vocals. Hinting at the momentum, but much more controlled in these chorus-like passages, it maintains a delicate, incredibly clever balance with ease. That balance though is about to be pushed to near breaking point.
Seamlessly reintroducing the power, heavily syncopated, sub-tone saxophones gradually push minimalist fragments to the fore. Gaining prominence with every note, it really is like we are being wound up and about to be thrown, well, upside down. And in a way we are. In fact, the level of the sensation that is created is truly outstanding. Like before though, I will leave out the reasons why so as to allow you to experience it yourself. I won’t even give you an idea of where the climatic slingshot flings us into the air. That’s how clear it is. If you did miss the exact moment though, there is little doubting the intention.
Having alternated atmospheres for the majority of the track, with us gently floating into the air, we suddenly find ourselves twisting and turning all over the place. Unable to latch onto any idea for more than a couple of seconds, the chaos that fills our ears becomes even more intense than before. However, in what has to be the up there with the most clever of musical moments, a transformation resulting in a phenomenally free-form finale brings everything, and I mean everything together. Don’t like being upside down? I challenge you to change your view now.