So now to Australia. We are just back from touring with Coldplay round the States. The opening act on that tour were the rather incredible Howling Bells. We toured with them twice before in their homeland but never have they sounded more devastating. Their first, eponymous, record had some splendid moments. Go listen to the ridiculous Setting Sun for one. It may well set you on fire with its magnificence. It's a reason to rejoice in the great things humans do from time to time. Seriously, you need this song in your life. Their new record Radio Wars has moments to match it though. The impossible somehow possible it seems.
Thing is, when you're on tour with Howling Bells there are a few things that become abundantly clear. Firstly they are the most ludicrously handsome band you ever did see. Seriously, all four of them could be Calvin Klein models. Secondly Josh could well be the coolest guitar player since Keith Richards. Thirdly, and I guess most importantly as far as, you know, music reviews go, Juanita has a voice that could raise the dead. Sumptuous and divine, like a dark angel. The best kind of angel as far as this heathen is concerned. Live, it is a thing of wonder. Crystal clear and unshakable. Not once in the three times we've toured together did I hear her fluff one note. Better than that even, live, her voice takes on a gospel hue that warms your bones. And so we get to the album and to one of the great songs of 2009, Nightingale.
Sweet jesus! Go listen to it now. Myface or yours. Wherever you can. You'll want the album when you hear it. Am listening to it as I write these words and try as I might I can't find the words. Speechless you say! Finally you say! Not quite (I never could be, ask anyone I never shut the hell up) but it's close. The guitar line that becomes a mantra that shifts key and then all the hairs you have try and leave your body in fireworking delight. "Come sing with me a melody in the dark of the night... two nightingales make everything alright." Those last five words form what may well be the best line of any on any album this year. In those words are centuries. Weight and love and glorious, fathomless truth. We all want our second nightingale.
There are many other delights on this one also. Digital Hearts shakes the fizz in me. Into The Chaos makes oblivion seem a desirable option. Treasure Hunt has some of Juanita's best lines (and there are many on this record). You need look no further than the first verse: "I am the watchtower, I am the light that emanates, I am the key that fits, I am the warmth that radiates." Sweet mother of pearl thems is good words! So, plenty swoonsome then.
So please do go listen to Setting Sun and Nightingale the now and see if I tell a lie. If no lies are on display (and I'm quietly confident there are none to see) then buy Radio Wars. You'll not be disappointed. Until next week have a beautiful time of it. Oh and as a parting shot go get Wells Tower's book Everything Ravaged Everything Burned, holy shit it's beyond the beyond! In every sentence there is life and breath and death and majesty.
1:52 PM | 06/07/2009
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