Bellhead - Good Intentions
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
We’ll be skipping introductions here as we gave a pretty good interview to the duo in 2021 as it is. So, diving right into the music we start with ‘Bad Taste’. There is a notable increase in production value as, even on streaming services without the raw download, there’s a crisp air to the drum machine based mechanical nature of this post-punk duo. The song starts with what sounds like a reversed track and some heavy breathing before an ominous drum beat is accompanied by deeper, guttural vocals that are whispered. Like a slasher waiting around the corner in some noir detective thriller. The song varies in pace and ferocity, opening up around the one-minute forty-five second mark. If goths wanted to dance, this should be the portion where they start doing so.
Into the deep brings us right into the middle of a spooky Haunted mansion on Halloween night as goth tinged guitars riddle the track. A grand beat where less is more, something that got me tapping my toes as I sat and wrote this review. Dual vocals battle it out going from the aforementioned guttural whispers to cleaner vox. I wasn’t a fan of when both Karen and Ivan sang together, but sang different lyrics. It’s something that sounds like a bug in a video game; when two people start speaking at the same time during a quest and you get confused and can’t understand what’s going on so you simply shut down. A minor complaint, but a notable one that should not be repeated.
‘Valentine’ is a much more relaxing track that reminds me of sunny summer days from my childhood. If they were attempting to hit a degree of nostalgia, they certainly slammed it home on this one. Trickles of piano work infiltrate the song with a harmonious rhythm; the lyrics are equally bright and lovely. It does have the minor mistake of having both members sing different things at the same time towards the end of the track, but its forgivable.
‘Apathy’ turns off the melancholy that was present on ‘Valentine’ and gives off a much grungier approach. Hardened guitars, attitude driven lyrics as if they’re channeling their inner punks. I think that if they would have pumped up the kick drum, the song would have hit harder and gave it an extra edge in aggression. This, however, is more of a suggestion than a complaint, and I love how it turned out nonetheless. Hint: Make an edit of the song with more bombastic kick drums and call it the “Steve Edit”.
‘No Big Deal’ is easily the weakest track on the album, but no means a bad one. While simplicity is a key factor in Bellhead’s production – and is largely why they’re so successful – this is where ‘No Big Deal’ fails. The rhythm, beat, it all stays the same for a large chunk of the song despite changing out some tunes. Same rhythm and it’s a noticeable one, like the doldrum of a grandfather clock. Again, not terrible, but a bit boring. It does switch up later in the song around the two-minute and fifty-second mark, but it’s a case of too little too late. The final song on the EP is ‘Drugstore Keri’, which to me has a bit of a rockabilly vibe. Nothing crazy, never going balls’ deep into the territory, but it has that flavor, attitude, and general raw nature that encompasses the genre.
Whenever I review a band I always compare their new release to their previous entries, and how much I enjoyed one in comparison to the other. So, the question then remains is where does “Good Intentions” stand. And I’d say they land in similar grace. While “Good Intentions” has better production value, I feel as if I had a few more complaints about song structure and lyrical delivery than I did with “Dead Lights”. These complaints do not ruin the fun I had with “Good Intentions”, but we are called BRUTAL Resonance for a reason. And I must state where I find fault. These faults are minor, like a small crack in a gorgeous, hand-sculpted marble statue, but they are there.
Bellhead is also currently on tour, so be sure to check them out if they’re in your area. Here are the remaining dates:
5/7 Mac’s Bar - Lansing, MI w/ The Clay People / Zombie Apocalypse / No Skull
5/8 Black Circle - Indianapolis, IN w/ The Clay People / Broken Nails
5/9 The Foundry - Lakewood, OH w/ The Clay People / Bonded by Darkness / Temple Witch
5/10 The Runaway - Washington, DC w/ The Clay People / High Horse Cavalry / Raw Dawgs
5/11 Bar Freda - Queens, NY w/ The Clay People / The Amatory Murder / Chroma
5/12 Darq @ Koto - Salem, MA w/ The Clay People / Acheron
5/13 Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center - Harrisburg, PA w/ The Amatory Murder, Faux Fear, Goth Goth, Sugar Hysteria
5/14 Buzzbin - Akron, OH w/ Night Goat / Bonded By Darkness / Temple Witch
5/26 Reggie’s - Chicago, IL w/ Night Club / Iron Years / PlasmataMay 07 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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