Howling Bells: Heartstrings

In their decade of existence, indie rock quartet Howling Bells have covered quite a bit of ground. Formed in Sydney, Australia, they are now based in London. Each of their four albums has been released on a different record label (their new one is on Birthday Records, a new label founded by the former drummer of Kaiser Chiefs). They have already toured much of the globe, often in the role of opening for the likes of Coldplay, Snow Patrol & The Killers. This latest album comes after a short break to give the members an opportunity to explore outside projects, and, in the case of front-woman Juanita Stein, experience motherhood for the first time. Despite this potentially unsettling amount of activity in a short amount of time, Howling Bells return with laser-focus for their new release, Heartstrings.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, their sound covers quite a bit of ground as well. From the darkly-shaded, buzzing guitar sonics typical of the mid-80s (co-producer Alan Moulder's past work with bands like My Bloody Valentine & the Jesus and Mary Chain is reflected here), to the garage-bred, girl-pop vibe of new-millennial bands such as Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast, Howling Bells blend their influences into a heady brew worthy of this moment in time. Coming in at a brisk 31 minutes, Heartstrings starts with a strong one-two punch in the songs "Paris" and "Possessed." By the time the single "Slowburn" ends two songs later, we've hit the introspective center of the album, and when the soaring title cut & album finale concludes, the listener is left slightly breathless with a number of high-quality tunes rattling around in their head. Thankfully there's always the repeat button. 

-Eric J. Lawrence

Track List:

1. Paris
2. Possessed
3. Your Love
4. Slowburn
5. Tornado
6. Euphoria
7. Paper Heart
8. Original Sin
9. Reverie
10. Heartstrings 

Photo courtesy of the artist