Album Review: The Bellfuries – Workingman’s Bellfuries
The Bellfuries have created a vintage rock n’ roll sound that will make you think you left the Oldies station on your radio. What I love most about this band is that they make the late fifties and early sixties sound as fresh as can be. This would be perfect music for a car cruise when you’ve just had a bit too much of that Richie Vallens track.
The opening “Lovin’ Arms” feels initially like a modern indie rock jam, but when the crisp electric guitars pluck the main line, immediately mental images of the 1950s emerge. It’s almost impossible to hear this groovy love song without thinking about big cars and American prosperity. The lyric “it’s sweet surrender in your lovin’ arms” even conjures the heyday of the Baby Boomer’s post-WWII era. It’s a clever song and a great way to start a solid rock n’ roll album.
“Bad Seed Sown” is a bad boy’s anthem. It’s about being up to no good and refusing to apologize for it. The classic rock n’ roll vibe is all there from electric guitars to swingin’ rhythm and snappy snare drum. The vocals even work for the genre. It’s the kind of song that’ll get heads turning like “wait, do I know these guys?”
“Why Don’t You Haunt Me” is a bit of a cooler sound. The lead vocal really reminds me of “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters. The song’s flavor is relaxed, the vocals cool, and the rhythm keeps toes tapping. “Make the Mystery No More” highlights more sound from the sixties, but a bit of a different vocal sound. The cool guitar break is one of my favorite parts on the whole album.
“Letter to My Maybe Baby” could have been cut by Chuck Berry or Roy Orbison. It’s got that classic guitar sound and excellent play on words. “Beaumont Blues” gets the beat hopping again, even more a Chuck Berry feeling to it. The bass line crawls up and down, keeping listeners on their feet. It’s a sock hop sound for sure.
“Just Remembering” is about the difficulties of looking back on a relationship that never happened. “Perhaps we were king and queen of a castle…” This one, oddly enough, has a bit of Glenn Campbell feel to it. You could it right next to “Wichita Lineman.” Killer songwriting on this one for sure. “Under the Light of the Moon” is a classic two step and has the country feeling that should be paired with “Just Remembering.” This is a versatile band that keeps its guitars in a prominent position.
The last track “An Illusion Believed” is another easy swinging song. It has shades of folk and definitely a nice rock core. The track’s narrative flow and spotlighted electric guitars are indicative of The Bellfuries signature sound. It’s a great way to end a delightful album.
The Bellfuries are a band that will speak to multiple generations. They have nice, timeless songwriting. The themes of love and nostalgia work nicely with the sound that the band produces. It’s nice to find a band that harkens back to earlier eras while still staying true to who they are.