Dani Bell & The Tarantist - Wide Eyed - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dani Bell & The Tarantist - Wide Eyed

by Florian Meissner Rating:10 Release Date:2019-01-18
Dani Bell & The Tarantist – Wide Eyed
Dani Bell & The Tarantist – Wide Eyed

Dani Bell & The Tarantist are probably one of the most exciting bands to release a new album in 2019. The five musicians from San Diego, CA, created a rather large fan base with their 2015 debut “Dark West”, which was an exciting blend of pop and psychedelic rock, combined with the beautifully dreamy voice of singer Dani Bell. For their 2019 follow-up “Wide Eyed”, Bell and her Tarantists decided to go into a grittier direction with excursions into Acid Rock, Surf, and Blues. The workings of this new mixture can best be heard in the first single, “Mystery”, which is beautifully dark, exciting, and a perfect balance between a rough, distorted rhythm guitar, an echoing, psychedelic lead guitar, and Bell’s clear, crisp voice.

The album starts off with the fittingly titled “The End”, a song that offers the aforementioned gritty sound, combined with some almost oriental sounds. It plays with the listener by teasing elements which, for some reason, you can never really grasp. Even after several times of listening, I can’t place what this song reminds me of – which is a big part of its charm. In “Driving me Crazy”, Bell impressively demonstrates her vocal range in a playful way, with a chorus that could have been sung by Japan’s very own Shiina Ringo during her heyday. After “Free”, a solid rock song with a spoken words performance reminiscent of Kate Tempest, we move on to “Tension”, a humble, unexcited ballad demonstrating the band’s ability to create a ‘slow dance song’. This is followed by my personal highlight of the album, “Mystery”, and the very poppy “Best Intentions”. Don’t get me wrong, ‘poppy’ does not mean ‘bad’ in any way, however, this song is the least strong in a very strong album. Be aware, we’re complaining about an incredibly high level here.

With “Empty Hands”, Dani Bell & The Tarantist are back on track, blasting out a dream-pop-inspired, fast-paced psychedelic rock song with an incredible soundscape consisting of bass, guitar, drums, and an organ. There is no way of listening to this without getting carried away into a different world. And once “Empty Hands” shot you up into space, “Down” keeps you there – despite the name suggesting otherwise. I can’t help to think of David Bowie during his Berlin period while listening to this. On “The Stereo”, the gritty guitar sound from “Mystery” is back, creating a perfect contrast to the spheric sounds of the two preceding songs, and the dreamy qualities of the title track “Wide Eyed”, which also ends the album. But not after taking the listener on yet another trip into their mind, with a five-minute long excursion into what could be called psychedelic pop.

Dani Bell & The Tarantist give us the perfect start into a musical 2019 with this album. If you’re only buying one record this month, make sure it’s “Wide Eyed”.

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