Written By: Sebastian Barnum
Label: Minty Fresh – Rating:
Certain bands from early on such as Pink Floyd, The Doors, and later Beatles albums, can give the distinctive feeling of psychedelics and a transition into the depths of your mind. The same can be said about Chimes and Bells. Without a doubt, they are the most trance inducing band I have ever had the pleasure of listening to.
With a soothing harmony throughout, and enough subtle biblical references to taunt you into madness and questioning, they’re truly impressive and decisively unique. “Into Pieces of Wood”, the bands EP, is what I would call an achievement of “avant garde” musical expression.
The album begins with “Stand Still” a song infused with a soft percussion, and an almost invisible guitar tone. As you hear this Danish quartet ease you into what feels like the beginning of an acid trip, you can’t help but be reminded of The Doors, between the howling of the simplistic guitar and the mumblings of the female vocalist; you can feel the same flowing tension from songs like “The End” and “Riders of the Storm.” With lyrics like “Heard you’re leaving for Babylon, hope you’re having fun” over a haunting musical tapestry, it’s understandable why they have the ability to be so simplistic, yet so moving. The vocalist has the innate ability to show you every emotion she has felt in the last ten years, while having a smooth Jazz tone like Portland’s indie favorite “She & Him.”
The title track of the album is called “Into Pieces of Wood,” and it is essentially the tensest moment of this whole album. The guitar is repetitive, and yet not annoying. Though the song is basic, and features only a few different chords, you never find yourself fallen into the trap of boredom. Just as you arrive at the conclusion that this song has little to offer, it begins with a winding web of percussion and mumbles, leaving you curious. “And the sound is all we knew” becomes the cry of this soon to be cult classic, and the song erupts into the sound of a well choreographed tribal dance, with seemingly relentless melodic chaos, and then drops before chaos can steal away from the song.
“Golden Sweater” is a song that you cannot simply turn on and appreciate. With a wailing cello, and very little fluctuation of any sort of instrument until roughly a quarter through the song, it’s too complexly-simple to just hear and then say “I Get It!” Once you spend some time feeling out the song, you can almost hear the musicians exercising there demons through their instruments. The screeching and cello seem to explode all at once into a breakdown of sanity, and then it’s all over. You’re left with your jaw resting firmly on the ground, and begging for more.
“You Shall Not Pass” is absolutely awe-inspiring, and a very adequate ending to what has been such a strange and addicting sort of musical journey. It oozes with a bluesy touch, and builds dramatically between the cello weeping and the drums escorting you into the back of your mind. And all the while you hear this anger and tension being created with lyrics like “… fool at sea, I will plaster you to the floor.” With an incredible feeling of time standing still, it’s almost as if you’re living in a silent film.
Chimes and Bells are somewhat of a mystery to me, as I find the most impressive bands to be that which can create the most energy through music. I assure you that I have fallen asleep to the album roughly ten times in the last week, because the emotions resonate, and because they convey them so well… it calms you. Though this band is quite mellow and melancholy, you cannot deny them as a group that have taken the greatest aspects of some classic bands, and combined them into what sounds like an acid laden orgasm. I give this band a 3/4 guns, and I can’t wait until they tour the US.