The Bell - Great Heat
With its shimmering guitars, bass-prominent melodies and propulsive, dreamlike songs, Sweden's The Bell would have fit perfectly on the NME charts in 1987. But they and the goods they deliver on "Great Heat" are not derivative so much as evocative of that era-and the difference between being derivative and evocative is being able to take familiar styles and, knowingly, use them smarty for one's own purposes rather than producing limp earnest copies.
So while you'll hear New Order, the Church, Echo and Bunnymen and some of the classic techno bands in songs like the passionate danceablilty of "Whatever Did You Say?" or the Casio-driven "Holiday," The Bell's insurgent vocal harmonies and sharp grooves give even the more direct quotes ("I Can't Change" and "Today" are as New Order as it gets, for example.)
The guitars that fuel "23 Seconds" and "The Sound" are great breaks from the keyboard heavy tracks; some extra punch along these lines would go a long way to silencing those who see them as an 80s cover band.
The trio made this record through email, which makes the cohesion and harmonic passion even more impressive. "Great Heat" produces plenty of heat for the dancefloor, and probably a tonic both for those nostalgic for the clubs as for current partiers. The Bell wallow in the sounds of their heroes proudly, but with a feel for groove and for vocal interplay that sets them apart in their uses of the past.
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