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Bellowhead – Hedonism

3 min read

Hedonism is the title of Bellowhead’s latest record and the eleven piece outfit offer us one incredible collection of string and horn heavy musical artistry.

The folk outfits third delivery is every bit as captivating as their first two as Bellowhead once again prove that if your going to do a job then you might as well do it to perfection.

BellowheadHedonismFront-man Jon Boden’s vocals roll through the record and suit the bands atmospheric production of strings and horn sections with splendor.

With Hedonism, the outfit have pieced together eleven captivating and nostalgic numbers to create the best release of career so far.

The opening rhythmic strumming and violins break open a truly fantastic big band spectacle with the album opener, New York Girls.

Cross eyed and Chinless adds versatility to the record with the albums most notable instrumental. With all instruments harmoniously colliding into each another in an orgy of grandeur, Bellowhead outdo even themselves with this wonderful big band inclusion. Parsons Farewell is another standout instrumental and is gently coated with flutes and tin whistles and brings about thoughts of Irish quartet, The Corrs.

The melancholic and old time Amsterdam, a track originally made famous by Jacques Brel, would be fitting for any Tim Burton film and is exquisite in its delivery. Gradually building from a mellow intro of cautionary strings and lifts off into a pulsating circus of musical genius that Brel would be proud of.

Further down the record, Little Sally Racket gives the record a cool rock n roll kick and sounds very different to its surrounding counterparts but just as fitting for the band who are not afraid to create outside the square and push the boundaries of their sound.

Broomfield Hill is a deep, boppy number that merges traditional Irish folk with a complimenting horn section and proves to be a rather catchy singalong for the record.

There are two principle reasons in my view as to why this band are so successful in creating such masterpieces of an age old genre. Firstly, Boden’s distinctive and aged vocals are what seem to hold the songs of Bellowhead together. Effortless and unperfected the singers raw emotion seeps through each number on the record expressing each line with genuine conviction as his band offers the musically sturdy support.

Secondly, the eleven strong acts dedication to their own sound and the strengthening of that sound shows itself off so well on Hedonism. It’s their signature and rather than over producing it and commercializing that signature they have refined and perfected it. This has allowed Bellowhead to craft numerous, entertaining and inspiring folk numbers that maintain a dated yet fresh sound that slots in perfectly to today’s folk rock genre.

The songs are fantastic and with John Lecki, who has worked with the likes of Radiohead, Stone Roses and Muse, at the producers helm, the band are stretched to their limits and the outcome is a record of pure folk bliss. The albums sound and production is very mature however it is successfully dipped in enough experimentation to keep the listener interested right through to the final chord. A fantastic addition for a band with refreshing originality.