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Bellini - Snowing Sun

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Artist: Bellini

Album: Snowing Sun

Label: Monitor

Review date: Aug. 29, 2002

Beatniks and Back Beats


I was introduced to Don Caballero as I suspect many others were as well. It went something like: ďHave you heard that drummer?! They must have found him in the jungle using bones for drum sticks and human skulls for drums!Ē Of course, while Damon Che was and continues to be a spectacle in his virtuosity, he didnít make the band, as some believed. Thus itís no surprise that given a new context, Monitorís new four-piece art-rock group, Bellini is unable to stand on solid drumming alone. Obvious enough I suppose.

Their musical intentions make Cheís beat-heavy drumming seem entirely out of place, even anachronistic, I dare say. The Bellini idea sounds like a sort of free-form dissonant rock explosion, topped off by abrasive female vocals that fluctuate between spoken word musings and throaty yelling, all tinged with a noticeable Italian accent. The vocalist presumably rejects the idea of singing, in favor of semi-conversational poetic alternatives. Her periodic fury is considerably powerful and captivating, but most of the time, the vocals fall apart into a soundtrack to a bad performance art piece, as does the rest of the band.

Musically, Bellini opts for dissonance and high decibels, but like many others, they end up mistaking randomness for innovation. The irony ends up being that the feel of all the songs is nearly identical. Their take on undisciplined noisy rock yields the same result in track after track, and youíve got to wonder if they ever get bored playing at the same volume level ninety percent of the time. At times with songs like "Marranzano" and "The Best Song on a Starship," the band seems to buckle down a little better and get to the point, but mostly the songs may as well be interchangeable in their vapidity and limited rhythmic ideas. The lyrics also have points of interest and introspection; they even gain a certain lucid elegancy sometimes. But these moments are rare, and mostly they are as empty as the music.

Itís mostly useless to compare Bellini to Damon Cheís previous music, but notable that his new band lacks both the musical scope and adaptability that Don Cab had in spades. If Bellini hopes to succeed musically, they might want to consider giving some more thought to song-writing, for the sake of transcending the singular, and singularly banal, sound that permeates their debut album.



By Matt Kellard

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