Howling Bells – Radio Wars

Australia’s Howling Bells display a slick sound full of motion and moodiness on their second full-length, Radio Wars. Produced by the band and Dan Grech-Marguerat (who has worked alongside the venerable Nigel Godrich in producing for Radiohead, Air, and more), the album shows the quartet’s easy grasp of electronic rock atmospherics and eerie pop songwriting, exemplified in widely varying tracks like the kinetic “Treasure Hunt” and the haunting “Cities Burning Down.” Some of the tracks, like “It Ain’t You,” uneasliy blend Juanita Stein’s radio-ready lyrics with the band’s ethereal tendencies, and at times it’s hard to tell if I like this stuff or not. Some of it is just a little too saccharine for my tastes, but then again, there’s plenty of pounding drums and spacy synths, which I always support. Personal preference aside, it’s easy to see why Howling Bells has a building buzz, as they’ve got something to please everyone a little, if not completely.

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