Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bella Clava: "Holy Crow" (album review)

You would be hard-pressed to find a band on the Toronto scene that has worked, and rocked, as hard as Bella Clava.  After a killer EP, the transplanted Thunder Bay-natives are now poised to release their debut full length album Holy Crow (produced by Toronto indie original Ian Blurton).

It's hard to believe, but with Holy Crow Bella Clava have actually turned the volume up from their raucous live shows.  The rhythm section on "Ding Dong Ditch" rumbles like never before, while songs like "Food for Cannibals" and "The Less Dead" are blistering and so in-your-face they it's like the band are daring fans to love it.

The keyboard sounds on the album are far more diverse than what Bella Clava has given us to date.  Beginning with the hard-driving "Conflict & Desire", the spectrum swings from the expected bluesy notes, to full on synth sounds, to piano tinkling, to brain-twisting psychedelia.

Building on the psychedelia is "Doubt".  The song has numerous twists and turns that see to morph from a 60's inspired acid trip all the way into a near-Industrial grind conclusion.  It's a bold artistic move that makes for an outstanding ride.

As always, Caitlin Dacey's vocals equally charm and frighten the listener, a unique ability indeed.  Her best performance here is on the confident, unyielding "Last Trip".  Surprisingly though, it's a track she doesn't do lead on, "Red River Rain", that's the most infectious cut on the album.

With Holy Crow Bella Clava have managed a rare feat, they have taken a successful live sound, expanded it, revved it up, and created something even more intense for music fans to rally around.

Bella Clava play a CD release show at the Horseshoe in Toronto on October 8th.

Best tracks: "Doubt", "Red River Rain"

Track listing for Holy Crow:
  • Conflict & Desire
  • Ding Dong Ditch
  • Foods For Cannibals
  • I'm Sick
  • Doubt
  • Red River Rain
  • Blue Star Tattoo
  • The Less Dead
  • Last Trip
  • War Brides
  • Loose Screw
  • Fairweather Friends
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