The Howling Bells - Radio Wars

Joe Clark 03/03/2009

Rating: 1.5/5

Howling Bells stole many hearts with their debut self titled release in 2006. The soaring, sexy, sinister, vocals of indie pin-up Juanita Stein were matched with shimmering droney guitars to deliver a subtle gem, full of melodic twists and turns.

'Treasure Hunt', sets the tone for their much anticipated second album - the pace is a slow chug as before, but unfortunately the production knob has been set to 'Killers', and someones arse has accidentally knocked the melody switch to 'off'. Latest single 'Cities Burning Down' follows, a re-recording of a former b-side, with added synths and strings, but again no noticeable tune. Some folk can pull off the shoegazey synth stuff (for example School of Seven Bells) but tracks like 'Let's Be Kids' and 'Golden Web' spread their meagre charms over polished beats, barely registering in the process. 'Into The Chaos' feels like a bit of a return to form - I think that may be partly to do with the guff served up before and after.

Radio Wars delivers few of the same thrills as it's predecessor and ultimately pales in comparison. Howling Bells sound better with fewer effects at their disposal and more tunes in the bank. Must try harder.

Release date: 02/03/09