Disappearing Night is the debut CD from Boise-based band a.k.a. Belle.
There’s a recurring theme running through much of the album — frontwoman Catherine Merrick spent 17 years living in Manchester, England, where many of these songs were first written and performed. (Catherine returned to Boise in 2008.)
However, far from being despondent, opening track “The Sweetest Sin” recounts a budding relationship, the first thrills of attraction — one could almost envision this tune in an Austin Powers film; it is retro with extra helpings of twang, provided by a playful banjo, guiro and sharp guitars.
“At Least I’m Stupid,” written and sung by guitarist Sam Merrick, is a clever rocker, with a nod to Neil Young, celebrating the realization that, whilst perhaps being stupid, this guy finally got his girl (“Oh no! She’s here to see me, I was mortified and horrified and all those things ’til I figured out what it means …”).
Other songs of note: Title track “Disappearing Night” — a tale of how lights from sprawling cities are diminishing our view of the night sky, interwoven with losing a loved one and trying to reconnect with their spirit by watching the stars. (And you hear a spaceship land!) The epic “For a Fool” is a Phil Spector-ish classic, commanding attention as the singer “moves on, changes tune” but remains, in heart, constant — a phoenix rising from the ashes over lush orchestrations of timpani, guitars, piano and banjo. (Yep, banjo.)
a.k.a. Belle have been accused of being an alt.country band, but the debut album shows that there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface — there are hints of ’60s pop, Neil Young, Phil Spector, late ’70s punk, Wanda Jackson — it’s a true conglomerate of varied musical backgrounds, showing signs of deepness as well as whimsy throughout.
And since it’s Christmas, a.k.a Belle threw in their sultry “(I’m) Give Mice Elf to You” — a song for lovers of mistletoe and romance, which makes this CD a perfect stocking stuffer.
Like A Rocket‘s debut CD Hey Man is an intentional throwback to the band’s favorite records of the ’70s. Like a Rocket wanted each song to stand alone, in content and in style, but taken as a whole to be about “something.”
Crafted like a classic rock LP with the idea of two sides (1-5, 6-11), Like a Rocket tried to recreate the experience of putting on a record and following a storyline of relationships, both intimate and political, to a conclusion.
“We hope you like every song on its own, but even more we want you to listen to it as a whole and that you can find something in a song or the experience that speaks to you,” says frontman Speedy Gray. “It was a blast to make, and we hope you feel the same way when listening.”
OTHER NEW CD RECOMMENDATIONS: