[Album Review] Drum & Bell Tower- Existential Qualifier
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Release Date: July 28th, 2016
Label: Independent

Drum and Bell Tower (Brent Morton) gives all the outward indications that he is simply an indie-folk artist. Nothing wrong with that at all, we quite like indie-folk. But it doesn’t take much of a listen to realize that appearances can be deceiving. The opening track “Freedom in the Way” starts out as an earnest and somewhat cerebral indie offering, but partway through a booming and sonorous bass-line comes in like a massive spaceship descending from the sky. OK, so things are going to be more interesting than perhaps you realized.

For sure, there are the odd tracks that meet expectations, such as the jangly, acoustic “Loading the Die”, but for the most part Morton takes your expectations and just smashes them against the wall. So you get “Pride and Prejudice”, a Pink Floyd-like tune (with Morton sounding very much like Rogers Waters) that deals with the ridiculousness of racial identity, and “Two Cats”, a synth and guitar instrumental with a delightfully off-kilter plonking beat. Even his more acoustic-leaning numbers are laced with subtle electronics. To top it all off, there is the chilling, very urban sounding, spoken word track “The Snake, Untaped”, which is all the more terrifying because the words could very easily have come straight out of Trump’s mouth.

Everything is delivered with competent aplomb because Morton exudes the kind of confidence that assures technical success in virtual everything he touches. If he were to be satisfied with being yet another serious indie act like The National then that would be impressive enough. Luckily for us, he strives for more and takes things to another level.