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  The Things We Say  
  Bella Parker  
Release Date:
  early 2003  
Reviewed by:

Bella Parker are an indiepop band from Texas. I think. Their website is a little short on information. At least they perform live in Austin a lot, so we'll go with that. They are a three piece, with the various members all contributing vocals and keys/electronics to what is basically a standard indiepop template of guitar, bass, and drums.

The Things We Say is Bella Parker's debut, self-released EP. (If you are interested, you can get it on their website.) There are a mere five tracks on this EP, so let me examine each of them.

The Last Time kicks the EP off with bouncey, happy fun driven by crunchy guitars over low organ drone and thudding bass rhythms. The guitar part is nice in a vaguely Gedge-ish way. (It's very good to see that the younger generation appreciates the sheer genius of The Wedding Present.) Interestingly enough, during the bridge the guitars retreat and the keyboard drone comes the forefront, which makes the song have an oddly new wave feel for a bit. Overall, this is a good tune that will get your toe tapping.

Voice Undone is a slowish pop song. It reminds me of some of the work of The Church: the guitars chime and layers of voice compete with one another. It has a hazy sort of feel to it, as if, even though the rhythm is somewhat intense, the song itself is content to meander along. At any rate, it is available for free download at their website, so you can decide for yourself.

Celluloid Moon, Make Believe Sea is more melancholy that the previous two songs. The lead guitar is buried under a load of tremolo and an acoustic guitar strums alongside it, while the kickdrum beats out a lazy rhythm. Vocalist Chad Geraci sings in falsetto, which gives the song a Radiohead feel to it. The guitars during the bridge are all Texas though, with tremolo and a little slide thrown in.

The Things We Say features an almost electronic rhythm, Geraci is singing a little further down his register, and the guitars chime and chug overtop. The song has a vaguely U2 feel, i think due to the gaspy vocals. This song really sounds like it could have been a big radio hit in 1990. Heck, this is what U2 should have been doing instead of the self-indulgant swill they were putting out at the time....

And finally we have Drift, which is an odd little song. The drum beat here has been laptopicized, coming out all fuzzy and flat and robotic. Keys drive the main melody in a monotonous riff, and the guitar wails in slow, trebly angst. The voice chants almost hurredly, which combined with the keyboards gives the whole thing an eerie and disconcerting feeling. It is an interesting song though, if not exactly sunshiney.

Overall, as you can see, Bella Parker have done what most bands seem to do on their self-released debut, which is show us pretty clearly who their influences are. Not that this is a bad thing, at least for three youngsters with such good taste. However, even though the songs are good, they just seem a tad formulaic. The merest tad really. In time, with growth, Bella Parker will find their own voice. And that will be very interesting, i think.

Related Links:

Bella Parker dot com


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