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Big Block 454 - Bells & Proclamations CD (album) cover


Big Block 454



3.69 | 5 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars So, I added this album here because dammit, someone had to. I also wanted to review it as I was impressed with their last album Bratislava released eons ago in 2008. Still haven't heard any of the earlier releases yet, but I intend to. Bells & Proclamations seems like a natural follow up to Bratislava, despite the long gap between releases. The songs presented here are still accessible and sometimes even catchy. Don't let the RIO/Avant tag throw you off; even if you are not into the more experimental and avant side of 'prog' you may find much to enjoy here.

This is very British sounding music with a British sense of humour. The influences of Big Block 454 are very diverse. They make good use of those influences creating their own unique sound. "Pyjamageddon"(great title!) opens the album with an orchestral style intro. Then goes into a 1980s style hip-hop type beat. Cool altered vocals in places. Some funky guitar playing. Repeats the line "filled with dust...her eyes are filled with dust" throughout the song. "Blind Jack Of Knaresborough" has nursery rhyme type vocals. Nice electric piano sound in this song, sounds like a Wurlitzer. Good saxophone solo. Gets more dissonant and avant towards the end with some spoken word parts.

"Yockenthwaite" is a nice melodic, catchy song. The sound of birds can be heard throughout. The harmony vocals remind me of Brian Eno. Good piano. Sounds like some kind of organ over halfway. "Metal Trees" is a folky type song with interesting lyrics; I had no idea that trees are not made of wood and they don't grow. Gets more atmospheric and ambient sounding later on with some percussion. At the end gets folky again with some great accordion. "Blind Jack's Unicycle" is an interesting song but it's only a minute long.

"The Modern Architrave" reminds me of some British rock music from the 1980s. I mean that in a good way: it sounds like some of the *better* '80s rock music from the UK. Some odd marching band music at the end with some trombone. "Long Shore Drift" begins with a guitar part that reminds me of a song from Crimson's Discipline album. This continues in the background for the majority of the song. This is a laid-back, alomst minimalist type of song. Ends with a more sinister sounding guitar part.

Some TV and/or radio sounds open "Crossing The Bay." Nice punky beat on drum machine. Cool melodic guitars in this song. Good harmony vocals that again reminds me of Brian Eno. "The Sun Unconquered" has a good drum sound with wide stereo seperation. Sitar adds some atmosphere to the song. The female vocals go well with the male vocals here. Some symphonic synths playing a Far Eastern type melody to end it.

As with Bratislava, the sound and production here is great. I don't think there is a CD copy of this album yet, but you can listen to/download it from their Bandcamp page. For those of you who have some money to spare, pay for the download, they deeserve it. Me personally, I'm broke as hell right now but I greatly apreciate the fact that I can listen to and/or download it for free. In the future I would like to get hard copies of this and Bratislava. Great album, great band. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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