From someone who adored the first Howling Bells record, it saddens me to say that numerous plays of this taster from their new long player (arriving next February) leaves me feeling nothing but complete ambivalence. Once the aural equivalent of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (eerie, sophisticated, sexy), they now more accurately resemble a later episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (slick , sanitized, a bit directionless). New levels of artistic redundancy are plumbed with the inclusion of possibly the most bewildering lyric ever; (There’s something happening/it’s in outside).
Of course, it’s not all horrendous (hence my apathetic response as oppose to a violently negative one) Juanita’s voice is still as delicious as ever, and an atmospheric, Mazzy Star-esque chorus almost redeems the song from its state of complete inauspiciousness. However, even this seems a bit self-parodic , with the band having used this formula much more effectively on earlier songs such as Setting Sun. Not bad, then, but to be honest, I’d rather they completely jumped the shark than wallow in a puddle of mediocrity.
Review by Ben Lowes-Smith