Title: Easy Weather
Artist: The Bell Hours
Release Date: 2015 March 21
License: CC BY-NC-SA
The Bell Hours’ Easy Weather has been in my review queue for a long time now, unfortunately it has been subject to a delay in being reviewed due to some personal and medical issues that disrupted my schedule for over a month. But now it’s time to put this release in the spotlight for a critical look.
The Bell Hours: Easy Weather
I have to say, this release surprises me every time it has come up in the review queue. Every time I hear the opening of For Your Eyes, I keep wondering why I have a Coldplay release mixed in with my Creative Commons licensed music. But I soon realize that it’s not Coldplay. Klaus Larson has created a release that merges the style of contemporary themes and pop artists with his own style and managed to come up with something that sounds both familiar and foreign at the same time.
What is both the best quality of this work, and also something of a downfall of it for me is the way it relies on standard hooks and song structures. I say that it is one of the best qualities of this work as it is immediately accessible. It is the strength of this accessibility that made me think that I was listening to Coldplay. It’s so well polished. and smoothly presented that it’s easy to believe that this is a mainstream release, instead of a work by an independent artist.
But, while this is a really well polished recording, there is a problem. I can hear some very interesting work going on in the arrangement and composition of these pieces. But most of the time it’s either decoration, like the arpeggio guitar parts that open My Town which are lost as soon as the main hook of the song hits, or they are simplified to fit with the hook like on One Or Two. In either case I find myself enjoying the songs, but wishing the arrangement could break free from the standard pop structure so I could enjoy it more.
Despite this, I still enjoy listening to this release for it’s mixture of new and classic musical styles. I have a soft spot of a lot of classic folk rock, like Nick Drake, and Simon and Garfunkel. On this account, The Bell Hours hits it out of the park. There is a lot to admire from a sentimental standpoint.
I wish I found this release to be a one hundred percent home run. But I find myself wishing that the unique parts of the composition and arrangement of these songs weren’t crammed into standard song forms. However, my sentimental affection for folk pop music still makes this a solid listen.