I will be honest, for the first time, other than rooting for Finland’s Lordi a few years back, there was a flicker of interest in this year’s Eurovision song contest once learning that the UK entry had a sound seeded in the ever infectious realm of swing. Any hopes and attention were defused of course once having heard the song and finding it had turned an instinctively contagious sound into something yawningly bland. It was poor old school with no adventure and modern imagination fuelling its proposal; once again the contest living up to its uninspiring reputation.
What does this have to do with the new proposition from The BeauBowBelles you are probably asking right now? Well the failure of seeing what is in and the choosing of what represents our voraciously inventive British music scene just leaves thoughts bewildered when, if we go down the swing road, the likes of the Electric Swing Circus, Molotov Jukebox, and especially The BeauBowBelles are creating irresistible and inventively magnificent propositions. Whether any of them would want to be involved in such an event is another question but each spins a web of virulently inventive escapades bred from diverse and colourful sounds, and this is where the seriously impressive A Thing of Reality, the debut album from The BeauBowBelles comes in.
The London quartet’s new melodic jaunt is a mouth-watering adventure of folk swing cast in unique sceneries of personal intimacy and expansive revelry with every track. It can stomp like a dance hall, seduce like a temptress, and reflect with emotive elegance, but whichever avenue a song escorts the imagination to it has body and attention enthralled. In many ways the delicious exploits of A Thing of Reality is no surprise having been spellbound by their first EP To The Moon in 2013 and a year later the single All Over That. They were sparkling appetisers for this first full-length dance but only a hint of its majesty too.
An album version of that last single opens up A Thing of Reality, and again as the first time around, All Over That easily captures the imagination with its opening embrace of melancholic yet smiling strings within seconds. No matter the number of times heard, the entrance of the song casts a spell, which the quartet of Bertie Anderson (vocals, violin), Emma Price (vocals, flutes, accordion, bells), Ros Wilks (vocals, violin, keytar), and Marcus Daborn (guitar, kickdrum), proceed to turn into a blaze of swirling devilry. That is a little down the line though, as guitar and a sultry kiss of brass light ears next, their coaxing the perfect company to the tantalising vocals. It is like an emotive waltz, a rising dance which is soon quick stepping with flirty riffs and mesmeric harmonies. Then the romp truly begins as thick basslines and vivacious energies descend on the senses, awakening an even more wanton appetite for its offerings. A gentle relaxation breaks the surge momentarily before the devilment swiftly returns for another whirl of rhythmic hips aligned to tenacious gypsy punk curves, all aligning for one infectious melodic shuffle.
The brilliant start is matched straight away by the following Lo Ho Down. Again a slow temptation brings the track into view, a reflective shanty of sound the initial invitation. It is also just an introduction to livelier things, a folk emprise with Celtic breath showing its light feet and keen moves soon after before drawing on even broader spices as a country and jazz persuasion adds their hues to the continually evolving canvas and gait of the contagion.
The summery charm of Blue Tree floats in next; it’s almost whimsical spots of melodic colour a smile on the ear within which voice and strings paint an increasingly colourful and vivid picture. There is a sixties pop air to the heart of the song and a classical elegance to the narrative of the violins and horns, both sparking up the imagination for the emerging anthemic stroll of the excellent encounter. Three tracks in and the album is as varied and creatively expansive as anyone could wish for and continuing to move into new pastures as the warm deceptive balladry of Sleep and the delicate flirtation of Fly Away seduce and serenade the senses. The first gentle strokes ears with its calm melodies and evocative textures yet has a mischief in its heart as it brews up a stirring chorus with invigorating rhythms and similarly gripping theatre. From a calm start the track turns into a chest beating, rattling romp of a croon and again has emotions and body lustfully involved. Its successor remains the serene host of bright melodies and magnetic adventure it initial portrays, though it too breeds a drama which adds an anthemic edge to it all.
A fifties rock ‘n’ roll revelry aligns to the insatiable energy of swing for Lotions, its rousing body and temptation a feisty waltz for feet and energies. The track makes for another mighty pinnacle on the album, from voices to percussion, strings to keys, and the rest, inescapable bait in a creative emprise stealing the passions. It is exhausting fun after which a breath can be taken with The Boy with a Boater on his Head, though it too is a transfixing sway. There is that particular English uniqueness to its music which no one else outside our shores can emulate but equally a country-esque whine and pop swagger makes rich spices in the fascinating mixture.
The graceful Sophie is a celestial kiss of harmonies and emotional intimacy, a resourceful ballad which as previous songs climbs from mere riveting hugs into almost riotously melodic dramas, keys especially poignant here. Its alluring smooch is subsequently followed by the vaudeville delights of Fools & Fairytales. The track ebbs and flows with cinematic essences and stage like performance from the sounds. It is like a soundtrack to a play wrapped in folk lore and personal exploration, and again aural theatre is the best way to describe the song and its spellbinding fantasy, that and ingenious majesty.
The smouldering seduction of Make Up brings the album to a close; its seventies psychedelic pop and classical grace an absorbing end to one irresistible and thrilling release. Certain songs overwhelm body and soul whilst the rest like an epidemic relentlessly seduce every pore; the result an irrepressible gest to light any and every day.
A Thing of Reality is available now digitally and on CD via Woodster Records @ http://thebeaubowbelles.bandcamp.com/album/a-thing-of-reality
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