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Howling Bells - The Loudest Engine (Album Review)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 Written by Sophie Williams
Howling Bells - The Loudest Engine (Album Review)

After a year of writing, England’s adopted Aussies have released their third album The Loudest Engine. Recorded at Battle Born Studios in Las Vegas and produced by none other than Mark Stoermer from The Killers. There’s a lot to be hopeful for.

ImageTitle track ‘The Loudest Engine’ displays Juanita’s rock and roll, eerie voice that we all know and love. Mixed in with Joel’s jerky guitar riffs and occasional moody silences it seems that all is well in the Howling Bells camp.

But the US desert seems to have had some kind of effect on them. It’s almost flattened their songs. We’re used to being bombarded with riffs, powerful and passionate songs. It just doesn’t quite feel the same. There’s something too perfect about it.

They’ve lost the synths and gone full on guitars. Juanita’s eerie voice is still what it used to be but the songs just aren’t the same.
There are some promising tracks on the album. Don’t Run is a sweet little track telling the story of ending relationships and the fear of not being perfect. Although the line “imperfections are what makes this work” could easily refer to the band itself.

There’s another glimpse of the band we all know and love in single Into the Sky. It’s reminiscent of the tracks from their previous album Radio Wars. It’s got the atmospheric hush hush drums with Juanita’s voice and Joel’s guitars taking over the track. It’s feet tapping loveliness with a vicious edge to it.

Howling Bells should have stuck to what they know how to do – make really good but different indie rock songs. Instead this album seems flat and almost distant, like they’ve lost their main focus on their sound. The album just seems too perfect bearing in mind that they’re known for their sweet imperfections. In this case they’re trying to be a genre they are not. Hopefully by the next album they’ll find their feet and get their individuality back.

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