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Lightning Bells - Chime EP Review

11 Apr 2014 // A review by Ria Loveder

With this being my first EP reviewed I was a bit worried on how to go about it. Whether to sit down and study the songs while taking notes, or just playing it and seeing what I thought. I needn’t have worried! Lightning Bells' EP was one that once I put on, it could stay on and be played again and again, with me occasionally having a bit of a groove in my apartment.

Lightning Bells is an alternative pop project made up of siblings, Christy and Emily Whelan and friend Luke Benson, with the rest of the band consisting of talented musical collaborators.

The first track titled I’m Not There, is a great introduction to the EP. Using many tempos to create an interesting listening experience. Being upbeat one minute changing to a more relaxed pace, to then speed up again. I have to give a mention to the wonderful bass melody throughout this song, giving it that funk sound that is so enjoyable to listen to. 

Wake Up (Don't Settle) I think has a lovely heart felt story behind it, of getting up and seeing the world before it all goes away. The melody and lyrics reinforce this theme throughout and it is a lovely contrast to the previous song. The change in tempo half way through I think again reinforces the storyline with it sounding like it is encouraging us all to ‘Wake up and taste the smoke, wake up before your fire is cold’.

If you are looking for a song that utilises instruments and knows just how to layer and create atmospheric music, Way Around is the one for you. Blending a lovely guitar melody, upbeat percussion and tunes from the trumpet, it is a song that I wanted to play again and again. Emily, I think must be given special mention here as her voice stands out with her solo part towards the end of the song. Her voice adds a wonderful tone and I think reinforces the story of the song ‘Show me the way around’, sounding like she is pleading with us.

Constant Sun has a wonderful chilled quality to it, reinforced by the lovely cello and trumpet instrumentations. It is a beautiful song. The best way to describe this song is one that gives you the feels! A story of love and confessing it to that person. A very emotive song that I believe is brilliantly well written. Lightning Bells know what instruments work best together and how to express emotion through song.

Chapters is a lovely contrast to the rest of the album as it is purely guitar and vocals. Christy does a wonderful job of bringing forth emotion and uses different dynamics in his vocals to add texture to the song.

Rehearsed Love is a brilliant ending to the EP, with it putting together the best aspects of the band in one song. With upbeat tempo, vibrant voices and atmospheric guitar, snare drums and trumpet. Just brilliant! And if you hadn’t of guessed, my favourite in the EP. This song begins as cruisey and ends as a funk/groove one. The trumpet, played by Luke adds a great touch to the song and is one that I have played rather loudly in my car, especially because of the amazing guitar rift at the end. Wow!

Chime is a wonderful EP and I believe a brilliant collection of songs that showcases all the different dynamics of this group. They should be absolutely chuffed with what they have produced, so my question is, ‘When is there going to be an album?’


About Lightning Bells

Lightning Bells began in a dusty Auckland basement armed with the old family piano, a garage-sale guitar and a brother & sister with distinct voices. Growing up in the conflicted household of an opera-singing mother and Beatles-nut father - Christy and Emily Whelan were drawn to making music from an early age.

In 2011 they finally extended their musical family under the banner Lightning Bells and with the help of an eclectic group of friends they released some well-received demos, a rough ‘n’ ready limited release EP and put on a string of raucous live shows.

Their sound has since evolved and after countless hours working with friends and collaborators Lightning Bells released Chime in March 2014 - showcasing a crafted alt-pop sound and electric live band.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lightning Bells


Year: 2014
Type: EP

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