“Sandwalk Wood” The Bell Beat
Indie rock with effect-heavy guitars, lots of keys and electronic flourishes. The band also punctuates some of its songs with “odd samples, loops, fuzz, and pitch-bending weirdness.” Detroit-based band led by singer-songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Randy Bishop. This is the Bell Beat’s third album, and first since 2011. Catchy melodies. Politically relevant lyrics. Somewhat DIY at times. And a bit experimental as well, with sampled dialog (such as a teacher talking to a class of students, and a scream at the end of one song).
— Francis D.
Recommended: 1, 3, 6, 2, 5, 10. No FCCs noted.
1. (3:39) Sandwalk Wood — Up-tempo guitar pop-rock. Some jangle. Doubled vocals. Shimmering synth in the lead break. ****
2. (3:45) Media — Syncopated beat. EDM-style pop-rock. Slightly hushed vocals, with rich harmonies. Sample of teacher in classroom at end. ***
3. (5:59) December 25, 1967 — Jangle rock. Male and female vocals in alternating verses. Big harmonies in the chorus. ***
4. (4:06) Bandit Guides — Ominous-sounding synth pop-rock. Flowing and melodic with rich harmonies.
5. (3:22) Scraps — Skittering electronic rhythm, plus tumbling tom-toms. Swirling synths. Whispered vocals. ***
6. (5:18) Citizens — Rapid-fire techno rhythm, like Giorgio Moroder’s work from the 1970s. Reverbed sample at start. Shimmering synth. Then, warm Beatles-like harmonized vocals. Big guitar in lead break. ***
7. (4:27) Show Off — Jangle rock. Strummed guitar. Pitch-bent vocals. Ends with a woman’s scream.
8. (2:55) Border — Starts with a sample of a preacher. Light indie pop-rock. Male and female vocals.
9. (3:43) The Distinguished Man — Syncopated rhythm. Somewhat experimental-sounding. Ringing guitars. Discordant vocals.
10. (4:52) For Everyone — Psych-rock. Slow and atmospheric. Eerie and foreboding. Effect-laden guitars. Heavy keys. Reverbed lead vocals, with atmospheric backing vocals. **