Bells Atlas - the mystic - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bells Atlas - the mystic

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-19
Bells Atlas - the mystic
Bells Atlas - the mystic

PR people often have a very interesting way of characterising the music and the artists they represent. Sometimes, they even hit it right on the target. Sort of. The case in point, Oakland, California quintet Bells Atlas, and the mystic, their second album proper. The label given is ‘psychedelic R&B’.

Ok, maybe. That is if you include into that category Kate Bush and Broadcast. But then, you can include these two into almost any category, because both Bush and Broadcast have spanned so many musical genres that their music could possibly be just - innovative.

You might have guessed that Bells Atlas, and particularly the band's lead singer Sandra Lawson-Ndu sound like the two British acts, and, yes, in a way. they do. But it would be more precise to say that they take their main cues from them and go their own merry way.

That merry way is actually by its own right quite inventive and very listenable. Ndu’s vocals do remind of a bit subdued Bush, and the music brings into the mix enough electronics and samples (particularly those their drummer is first recorded over the phone) like Broadcast used to do to make them forge into another musical territory.

Most of the tracks on the album like “Rogue Dream” and “We’ve Been Here Before” are brimming with these inventive little touches and Ndu’s excellent vocals to lift it well above average electronic pop of today. The band does take a bit more commercial detours here and there, like on the opener “Hazelwood” and particularly “Belly” the designated single.

Maybe the ‘psychedelic R&B” label is there because the whole of the mystic is lyrically set as a sci-fi fantasy of both personal (coming to terms with medical diagnosis) and general nature (coping with reality), but it certainly fits in into the musical concept that the album puts forth.

In the end, Bells Atlas manage the key thing - they make you stop caring what label is given to their music and just let you listen. With enjoyment.

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