THE B OF THE BANG – Tremors and Nosebleeds : The Melodies of a Malady (Pie & Vinyl Records – 22/04/13)
Review by Di
Released in 2009, The B of the Bang’s first album, Beginning Middle End, was a creation of unique beauty and intensity. It presented a band so distinct it’s hard to know quite how to describe them or who to compare them to – which really isn’t a problem except I constantly find myself in want of a more constructive way of saying ‘these guys are so awesome, you must listen to them!’
Four years, two EPs, the sad demise of their record label and countless live shows later, a second album is here with, well, quite a bang!
It’s big, lush, eclectic and raw, with a move towards more pumping electric guitars, driving bass lines and a general notion to ROCK, to complement the more quirky instrumentation that has so far made up their sound. (Listen out for Canaries in the Coalmine for an awesome guitar solo leading in to a musical crescendo Band of Skulls would kill for.)
The opening track, Aim High, showcases the band’s signature gorgeous harmonies from the outset, with Roxanne’s vocals in particular the sweet soaring high to front man Wit’s low, reverberating Nick Cave-esque baritone. Indeed, her vocals contrast beautifully with Wit’s throughout the album, especially on Bungalow Town.
B of the Bang appear to enjoy exuding a sense of menace and this is demonstrated at its best on (The Forest) Devil is in the Dirt, its brooding bass line and urgent, repetitive vocals conveying the same creepy feeling when you know that girl should really not enter those deep, dark woods in the film you watch from behind your fingers.
Wander (Through the Night), which has a thrilling, pulsating introduction, has the sound of, joy of joys, two Wits! Seemingly duelling throughout the song it’s a brilliantly layered and weirdly terrific song.
The penultimate song, Home (Anywhere but Here) is very reminiscent of the band’s sound on Beginning Middle End, leading with solitary strumming and a powerful solo, building in to a complex, multi layered tune in which every member of the band seems to give their all, melting together into a powerful and stirring anthem.
The song exudes an air of sadness and regret, as the band sing ‘I’d rather be anywhere but here, but this is my home’ with such emotion the feeling becomes almost overwhelming. It’s a sentiment that, as its title suggests, courses through the album itself, particularly hauntingly in Bungalow Town, with the mournful lyrics ‘It used to feel better till the malady in me was born. It used to feel better under melancholy skies, where the oceans meet stands a lighthouse with no light’.
With this album, it really feels B of the Bang are continuing to grow, embracing a breadth of styles that take you from rousing and complex in Sharks of the Atomic Atoll, to the more stripped back beauty of Something is Holding me Down and the fragile, emotive album closer, This Will all be Gone Tomorrow, which is stop-you-in-your-tracks gorgeous.
Though it’s eclectic, taking you through rabbit warrens of songs, never knowing where you’ll pop up next, there’s a consistency in its refusal to let you go. It’s an album that grabs you by the hand from the start and leads you on one hell of a journey, providing an emotional punch with each twist and turn. Hopefully it won’t give you tremors or nose bleeds but it will give you goose bumps and will work its way so deeply into your brain, the only cure will be to listen to it again and again.
Tremors and Nosebleeds is released on 22/04/13. Visit thebofthebang.co.uk for more information.
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