Friday, August 13, 2010

Bella Clava: "The Craic: An Ephemeral Record" (album review)

Let's face it, blues rock has saturated the indie airwaves and blogosphere over the last couple of years.  But Bella Clava and their latest mini-album The Craic: An Ephemeral Record prove that there's always room for one more.

The Thunder Bay-bred, Toronto-based band has been tearing up the clubs with their emphatic blues/garage/classic rock sound.  Now the band has added the recording work of the legendary Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies) to the mix.

The new record kicks off with the dirty guitar and rump-shaking keyboard of "I Forgot My Mantra", a track that cements Bella Clava's status as Toronto's sultry answer to The Black Keys.  Whirlwind keys and a thumping rhythm section power "So Simple" while "Live" has a classic rock guitar lick that will instantly have you bopping your head.

There are some new twists this time around as the group goes out of there comfort zone.  "Surf's Down" sees Steve Suttie take the lead vocals in the midst of a warped surf track while "Eve's Drop" has Caitlin Dacey back in front on a swaying saloon number.

What Albini and the band have managed to capture is the visceral energy that has made Bella Clava one of my favorite live acts on the Toronto scene.  Kudos to them.

Bella Clava plays the Bovine in Toronto on September 30th.

Best tracks: "Eve's Drop", "Live"

Track listing for The Craic: An Ephemeral Record:

  • I Forgot My Mantra
  • So Simple
  • Live
  • Eve's Drop
  • Surf's Down
  • Battle of the Wristbands

Bella Clava's website
Bella Clava's Myspace

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