[Album Review] Del Bel- Del Bel
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Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Label: Missed Connection Records

There is talk that Twin Peaks may be revived, in which case David Lynch may want to check this beauty out for the backing music. Indeed this entire album plays out as if you are in smoky cabaret in your dreams. It’s the bittersweet memory of a vague nightmare.

If there was ever a vital pairing it would be the subtle arrangement/orchestration of Tyler Belluz and the sultry, jazz-informed vocals of Lisa Conway. Nothing but Conway’s lyrics and sensitive vocals could ever make sense of Belluz’s darkly imaginative musings on the mysterious. Although the singing may bear some comparison to Goldfrapp, the only thing that comes even close in comparison to the entire package is Portishead, but without the trip-hop glitchiness.

Unlike either Goldfrapp or Portishead, the music on Del Bel is entirely natural and organic. It’s all reverberating tremolo guitars, throbbing drum/bass and subtle horns that are brewed together in eerie mix of swampy folk-rock, southern gothic blues and jazz. It’s cinematic, but not in the blaring, flashy sense. No, Del Bel uses the old horror trick of never showing you the monster. The music is tension-filled and on slow simmer, leaving you on tenterhooks waiting for it to boil over, but it never does.

Del Bel is all about mood, so there is nothing really catchy on the album – no easily remembered musical phrases that will have you humming at the gas station later. For that reason, each individual track does not stand up to intense scrutiny. It’s sort of like a distant star at night that is bright in the corner of your eye, but dims when you look directly at it. So don’t stare, just let the music seep in on its own. Believe me, once it’s in there, once it’s worked its way into your bones, you won’t want to listen to anything else.

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