Friday, 20 June 2014

''The Moon Rang Like A Bell'' Hundred Waters - A Review

Hundred Waters self titled 2012 debut was an impressive fusion of acoustic and electronic music that resulted in critics coining the terms 'folktronica' and 'digital folk' due to the band's unique balance of the two genres. The Moon Rang Like A Bell sees the four piece return with the warranted expectation that their sophomore effort should see them develop their engaging sound further, although throughout it seems as though Hundred Waters are leaning specifically toward one side of their original favourited styles.

The album begins with short opening piece ''Show Me Love'', a vocal exercise for frontman Nicole Minglis before ''Murmurs'' gently soothes the listener into the album with an almost R&B vibe and the incredible voice of Minglis, a constant factor in proceedings just as it was on the bands debut. The synths are then revealed for ''Cavity'', ''Out Alee'' and ''Innocent'' which all retain a shimmering, blissed out electro vibe before the midsection is slowed down in mournful tones by ''Broken Blue'', a low tempo, wallowing piano track that alongside ''Chambers'' creates a haunted, darkened middle. On ''Chambers'', as well as ''Down From The Rafters'', Hundred Waters start to show off some of their influences with a strong Sigur Ros comparison emanating from the band as Minglis shows off a Jonsi like vocal that's backed by droning organ atmospherics.

The band are back to enjoying themselves on ''[Animal]'', a bouncing, playful synth track that leads into the closing stages of the album where the band utilize piano/keyboards to great effect on ''Seven White Horses'' and ''Xtalk'' before ''No Sound'' finishes the 48 minute tracklist with a gentle soundscae that washes along to the close.

Following Hundred Waters in 2012, the most obvious comparison to make was Akron/Family, an experimental acoustic act that have spent the best part of the 21 century trying to rearrange traditional folk music into something more strange, and while in many ways Hundred Waters picked up where Ak left off, they seem to be content to drop their acoustics here in favour of electro textures rather than balancing the two. This is disappointing in some respects given the truly unique sound of the band's admittedly more intriguing debut, but on a positive note The Moon Rang Like A Bell sounds like Hundred Waters becoming more comfortable with who they are and the music they are trying to create, and if they can produce a more familiar sounding version of electronica of this quality on a regular basis from here on out then really, there's little room for complaint.


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