It’s pretty impressive indeed, how many talented bands from Australia have been sprouting up like mushrooms in recent times. After Tame Impala and The Black Ryder deserved their status as precious parts of my vinyl collection, ‘Dark Bells’ seems to be another sleeping beauty, waiting for her awakening. Since Australian natives Teneil Throssell and Ash Moss moved to London and joined forces with drummer Luke Richardson roughly a year ago, slowly but surely, the project earned growing recognition also on this side of the hemisphere.
Truth be told, a few of their tunes have been out there for quite a while, but the three-piece did not emerge on my radar until I eventually got my hands on the dazzling ‘Want’ and ‘Run for Daze’ a couple of months ago. Well, better late than never, right? The here and now looks fairly promising for the Aussie-British formation: After the release of their 7’’ single ‘Wildflower’ on Tape Club Records in early May, Dark Bells played a sold out show at London’s ‘Elektrowerkz’ and an exciting set at ‘Field Day’ festival. The sound of Dark Bells seems refreshingly different and so familiar after all: Spinning a beguiling web of haunting yet melodic sounds built on the bricks of post-punk with the atmosphere of an act you might have found on 4AD in 1983. However, it seems quite difficult to pin their opus down to a specific genre: Besides the distinctive influence of post-punk, the three-piece smoothly plays around with facets of shoegaze, psychedelic, noise and even tropical arrangements. This musical non-conformism and constant striving for diversity is essentially what’s so fascinating about Dark Bells work and, by the way, furthers my distaste for musical pigeonholing.
There’s definitely a good reason why Run for Daze and Wildflower are running on heavy rotation for quite a while now – at least on my record player! Lost in reverie, Throssell’s hazy vocals are carried by ferocious bass lines, catchy rhythms and hypnotizing guitar riffs, captivating the audience from the first to the last second. Constantly shifting between calm and vigorous, roaring and mind-numbing sections, the three musicians lure you into a false sense of security to eventually hit you like a steam train.
Watch out, Dark Bells is one to keep an eye on!