Broader Than Broadway, the new mini album by Australia’s Belles Will Ring, is in the nicest of ways the end result of a series of “happy accidents”.
From the band’s Macgyver-like experiments during the recording process right down to the title (pulled from the lyrics of a Barrington Levy song as a joke that ended up sticking), Belles Will Ring adeptly harness their creative energy and the subsequent mishaps to shape a cohesive new record. This is not to say the band’s entire creative process is uncalculated and chaotic. A sophomore release is very delicate territory for a band whose debut record, Mood Patterns (2007), garnered much praise and international attention.
Self-produced over a sixth month period, once again at Three Shades Green (aka. Liam Judson’s parents lounge room), Broader Than Broadway contains all of the sprawling soundscapes of Mood Patterns, yet has been pared down to its necessary elements. The introduction to Aidan Roberts (lead guitarist) sharing songwriting credits has consolidated the chemistry of Belles Will Ring, creating a diverse, refined and unified direction now as a 4 piece – originally a 6 piece on the bands conception.
“Priest Coats”, the first single, and “Songs of the Avenue” are rife with complex harmonies and accurately illustrate the breadth and depth of what Belles Will Ring is capable of: lush, multi-faceted ballads and straightforward rock songs. And while the tempo and instrumentation from song to song is sonically diverse, like the transition from Wintertime and A Thousand Odes to You, there is still a semblance of calculation. Renegades is a strangely upbeat pop song that sounds like nothing else on the record and yet feels familiar and welcome given the album’s trajectory. The finale, titled Silver Eyes is a beautiful ballad that is signature to the bands balance of harmonies and clever instrumentation.
2008 has seen the band expand its songwriting and production capacity in and away from Belles Will Ring. Drummer, Ivan Lisyak sharing the same duties for The Paper Scissors. Liam Judson fine-tuning his producing skills on the new Lovetones LP, whilst joining guitar duties & co-writing for Sister Jane and The Late Night Sound. While Aidan Roberts has delivered an acclaimed debut LP under his Maple Trail moniker. The productive existence of individual members has marked progress and maturity for Belles Will Ring on this release and many more to follow.