Listening to "Darker Side Of Sunshine", a lead tune from 'Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions', it's hard not to be reminded of the softest, most anonymous slowcore artists: the soft percussion, lilting twang and whispered vocal harmonies all bring Low to mind, the song both grandiose and impossibly light. On 'Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions' Bell Gardens continue to perfect their ambient-laden pop tunes, perfect for the moment before you drift into a deep sleep.
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Stars of the Lid's Brian McBride and Furry Thing Kenneth Gibson joined forces a couple of years ago to release an album as Bell Gardens, departing dramatically from the work they're best known for to experiment in an elegant arranged chamber pop sound which relies more on live instrumentation and less on studio trickery. 'Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions' is the follow-up, establishing them as more than just a side-project with another luxurious collection of slo-core ballads for the weary of heart.
Opener 'Darker Side of Sunshine' has some big gospel-ish harmonies that immediately bring to mind Spiritualized, but 'Silent Prayer' which follows it takes into sadder and more understated territory with shuffling shakers and weeping pedal steel before 'Sail' indulges McBride's ambient side with swells of heartfelt violins and drawn out piano notes leading to a 'Chopsticks' meets 'Sleepwalk' melodic progression and some more of those Jason Pierce-esque group vocals.
I'll spare you the full blow by blow but other highlights include the heavily reverbed piano and vocal intimacy of 'She's Stuck In The Endless Loop of Her Decline' and the shimmering heavy-hearted trudge of 'Trust Lost Trust'. While it is quite a varied album, it's consistently downbeat and melodic and meticulously arranged and produced. Beautiful stuff.
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- Slow Dawns For Lost Conclusions by Bell Gardens
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