Continuing on the series of EP's named after the miracles of St Mungo, The Bell That Never Rang is the latest offering from Hector Bizerk. The 'Glasgow EP' series has seen the band push the boundaries of their sound, and The Bell That Never Rang is no different, a very different beast to previous work.
Opener Skin and Bone starts slowly and controlled; afro-beat drums with Louie's calm vocals atop. As if an unbeaten rap battle record wasn't enough, Louie further stakes his claim as Scotland's best MC with intelligent and witty lines such as; "I'll be the public enemy when the crisis hits / Chuck Deodrant into flames" and "While UKIP in your bed with feeble friends". A delicious climbing bass line shepherds in the chorus; which is closer to Arctic Monkey's Crying Lightning style than hip-hop demonstrating the band's reluctance to conform to genre descriptions. "Still nobody seen nothing yet" warns Louie, casually assuring us that despite the plaudits thus far the best is still to come. Ending with a psychedelia-soaked synth frenzy and the type of drumming Audrey Tait has come to be renowned for Skin and Bone might just be the finest track Hector Bizerk have produced to date.
Festival Boy begins with the hungover thoughts all too familiar with festival goers. One of Louie's skills as an MC is his ability to craft characters through his lyrics. Festival Boy is another of those close to the bone creations, Louie's drawled half sung chorus giving rise to the bucket hat adorned staggering image in our heads. Musically the track dabbles in funk and blues with delightful drum fills punctuating the verses.
TV series True Detective lends the name of lead character Rust Cohle to the next track. Like the TV series, the track is dark and foreboding; largely in part to the ominous guitar riff at play. This track is an opportunity to take exception to many social injustices across the world, and again Louie's wordplay shines through particularly with reference to the Middle East and an ex-footballer's woes.
Closing track Best Man Speech tells the dilemma of a best man who is all too aware of his mate's wife-to-be affairs. The track again draws in influences from jazz, funk and afro-beat to craft a charming sound which paces along perfectly with Louie's rhymes. The vocal only last verse is a fantastic production touch, demonstrating the clearing of mind one might expect when such a moral dilemma is dealt with.
The Bell That Never Rang represents another fine body of work under their belt. Marching from strength to strength the band head over to SXSW surely assured and confident that ain't nobody seen nothing yet.
- Neil Wilson
Hector Bizerk - The Bell That Never Rang is out now on limited edition CD and can be purchased here.