Album review

The BellRays :
The Red, White & Black


The BellRays : The Red, White & BlackIf you were to place the following ad in the lonely hearts column; 'dejected music lover seeks band with heart, soul and energy; must have a sense of humour, good lyrics and an upbeat view on life,' you would probably end up with The BellRays.
    They're a breath of fresh air, hosting a lusciously different sound which is almost indescribable; it's crazy, it's loud, it's like Motown on speed. The BellRays have taken a measure of soulful beats, thrown in some punk rock and added a hint of anything else they could find in the influence cupboard . . . and the result is a truly vibrant album.

Lisa Kekaula fronts the Californian quartet, giving them their signature soul voice that turns Street Corner and Poison Arrow from songs into performances. However, although the guitar endlessly churns out potent songs, the sound rarely digresses from the indie-grunge hybrid, which wears thin before the album closes.
    Even so, the diverse influences and direction of the rock 'n' soul genre that The BellRays appear to be pushing works incredibly well. It's a James Brown meets The Who, via The Datsuns kind of sound. Until you hear The BellRays it's hard to imagine how successfully this works. The mix of soul, rock and funk doesn't sound like the most natural combination in the world, yet they do it so convincingly.

:: Paul Newbold

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