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

BELLS & PROCLAMATIONS

Big Block 454

RIO/Avant-Prog


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
zravkapt
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.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#411863)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Strange band, this British band.

I think it is fair to say that a fair share of the British people are eccentric. I have moved to Great Britain from another country and has lived here for almost two decades. For me and coming from a well organised sane society, most of the British society seems eccentric to me.

This British band Big Block 454 is mirroring the British eccentric man on this, their new album. It starts with some cathedral bells and continues out the door and into the British society. It is not a big sound madcap album like you would expect from an avant-garde album. Bells & Proclamations is much more a pastoral, tuned down album. To that extent, Bells & Proclamations has more in common with the Genesis albums Foxtrot and Trespass than anything from Univers Zero. Yes, Bells & Proclamations includes a fair share of avant-garde too. But it is not an all out avant-garde album. It also has a lot in common with the Krautrock scene. The basis on Bells & Proclamations is based on finding and presenting a good melody. ...........Which there is a lot of on this album.

Still, it is a pretty bizarre album with a lot of reference to britpop, the 1980s depressive pop/rock scene (New Order), some 1980s techno (Kraftwerk) and a lot of pastisj. It is........well, an eccentric album.

The overall quality though is great. Most of the material really creeps under the skin of the listener and stays there. The music is also well crafted and intelligently made. This band knows their craft and really maximise their skills. It is a strange album which leans both on the good melody and on all out avant-garde'ism. But it has found the perfect balance between those two worlds. I am really both intrigued and impressed by this album. Hence; my verdict.

4 stars

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#421699)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Bells & Proclamations' - Big Block 454 (5/10)

When it comes to the weird and wonderful realm of avant-prog, there are two general ways a band can go. The first is that of incredible darkness and disconcerting chaos, and the other being that of playfulness, tongue-in-cheek delivery and quirkiness. With a title like 'Pyjamageddon' given to the track that opens this album up, one can probably guess what route British art rock trio Big Block 454 takes with their 2011 offering 'Bells & Proclamations'. Taking a quirky, undeniably British approach to rock music in the style of the Cardiacs, the band is sure to appeal to fans of other likeminded acts, although from my own perspective, the band doesn't deliver the sort of dynamic and challenging experience I was expecting to hear from a band like this.

As is evident from the fairly structured songwriting heard here, Big Block 454 seem to be attempting the same deconstruction of pp music that the Residents boasted on several of their albums, although the weirdness here is in no such degree. Although there is a great degree of variety here- possibly the album's best trait- Big Block 454 generally adopts a weird style of post-punk and 80's pop, placing a proggy rendition upon these genres. In fact, many of the songs here are fairly straightforward in their instrumentation; Peter Gabriel's solo material comes to mind.

Much of the weirdness is conveyed through the vocal presentation of the band, which is inconsistent, for the most part. Mixed over every other aspect of the music, the vocals here warble, whisper, speak and sing their way throughout the whole thing, and like the rest of the work on 'Bells & Proclamations', a listener can expect a very varied delivery. The singing is something akin to that of Roger Waters or David Bowie, but sadly never reaches the strength of either. 'Bells & Proclamations' undoubtedly shows that the band are innovative instrumentalists, but in general, the vocals I have heard here leave a little to be desired.

The album is incredibly diverse from song to song, ranging from an incredibly mellow ambient piece like 'Longshore Drift' to a psychedelic raga excursion in 'The Sun Unconquered' or pastoral folk song with 'Metal Trees'. Each of these styles are done fairly well, but the variety comes at the cost of the album having very little flow to speak of.

While Big Block 454 certainly gets the charm of their isle across with 'Bells & Proclamations', I feel myself rarely emotionally stirred by the work they have done here. A rather lukewarm reception from me, although it is certainly not a listen without its merit.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#428566)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK band BIG BLOCK 454 has been around in one form or another for just over 20 years, and has a total of seven full-length productions to its name in addition to a handful of EPs and a compilation. "Bells & Proclamations" is its most recent effort, being self-released in early 2011.

If you enjoy experiencing the unexpected and take joy in listening to music that combines accessible and whimsical themes with challenging details and quirky unexpected twists and turns, Big Block 454 has made an album you should take a listen to with "Bells & Proclamations". Or as the band states matters itself: "Big Block 454's approach also encompasses using instruments they don't know how to play, and those that hadn't been invented before the band made them." Which says a lot about the band and their music, and those intrigued by this self-description will know what website to check out next presumably.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#544319)
Posted Thursday, October 06, 2011 | Review Permalink

BIG BLOCK 454 Bells & Proclamations ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of BIG BLOCK 454 Bells & Proclamations


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.09 seconds