Foxgloves are amongst my favourite flowers, a graceful blush of pink amongst the trees, carefully designed to manipulate the bee into its pollen-lain interior.... Bell Hollow likewise draw you in with a rich, velvety sound like those petals. Whilst having more than a passing resemblance to Interpol and their ilk (not a terrible sin in my book I'll admit) Bell Hollow do not have the same aggressive edge exhibited by that band, more of a shimmery softness around the edges; so trailing a hand lazily in the water on a sultry summer's day (rather than getting all hot and irritable on the sweltering streets of New York). Opening with the spirited dance-y 'Seven Sisters', Bell Hollow echoes all the pleasant aspects of those fey whimsical bands that you feel might be too delicate to be bruised by the rigours of success (and alas Bell Hollow are no more, adding weight to that ad hoc theory....) Even Nick Niles singing "and we're young and wild" barely stretches to upbeat. Even so the sound of melancholy is a wondrous thing, his voice drips with such lusciousness it has the effect of making even the most prosaic of actions compelling. Exhibit A on 'Our Water Burden' - "take the letter on the mantle, open it slowly, read my hand-" convinces me that even a shopping list would be transformed in his capable larynx. If you have an irrational hatred of jangly guitars then this album might be hurled against the nearest wall in a fit of pique, for herein is plenty of delicate chiming 'bell-like' guitar (I am honestly running out of metaphors and words to describe this kind of thing, no wonder music journalists go a little barmy in the search for better and greater adjectives), inducing all kinds of pleasant imaginings in the mind of the susceptible listener; personally I am still reclining in a boat slipping silently through the water, somewhat like the doomed Lady of Shalott, especially by the time 'Eyes like Planets' mopes into view. Things head rapidly downhill after that before pining away with the despair of 'Lowlights' only...only... before there is a brief flash of resilience 'The Bottle Tree' which crackles with the bitterness of resigned 'told-you-so' - 'that was then, but this was now, you got what you wanted but it went sour' - a battered cry to be careful what you wish for if ever there was one. Still, a good dose of melancholy which never collapses into utter misery is always welcome, only the sad note to end on reflects the fact that it DOES end here. Forever. And the bell tolls goodbye.
The lovely strains of 'Seven Sisters' (as found on YouTube)