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Radio wars

Oz Quartet lighten up a little on second album

Rating: 8 / 10

Lauren Murphy, 26 Feb 2009



Howling Bells’ first album was a moody, sombre affair that was more likely to propel its listener into the gloomy corner of the dancefloor than spark their jitterbug gene. Unabashedly taking their cue from the most eminent of ‘80s guitar bands, the Australian quartet’s second effort is a markedly different affair.

The delicious darkness that coated their eponymous debut is still audible, but these songs are more immediate, more accessible and infinitely more bewitching than anything they’ve done before. A band as likely to take inspiration from films as from music, Radio Wars is glazed with a static, cinematic sheen that adds an extra element of mystery to proceedings. Frontwoman Juanita Stein’s persuasive vocals help, too, and there are elements of Hope Sandoval and Harriet Wheeler in her wavy croon. A gorgeous, swoonsome album that electrifies and stimulates in all the right places.

Key Track: 'Treasure Hunt'


Rating: 8 / 10
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