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Hurricane Bells – Down Comes The Rain EP

on September 24, 2010, 7:58am

Does Steve Schiltz ever sleep? If you’ve been following his project, Hurricane Bells, the answer is apparently not. Less than a year after releasing and touring for his debut album, Tonight Is The Ghost, Hurricane Bells return with an EP of covers and new music entitled, Down Comes The Rain. While this release has some great moments, it leaves the listener wishing that Schiltz had waited longer and recorded a full album—there’s just not quite enough to go around.

The covers turned out pretty solid. The strongest of the three is unquestionably Blue October’s “Into the Ocean”, which is so delicately performed as to render the music hauntingly quiet, a small measure of control in the face of the chaos of the lyrics. It’s fairly faithful to the original track, so no major innovation there, but it allows Schiltz to model the dark, subtle beauty that his music embodies so well. Easily the most striking piece on the EP, you’ll find yourself hitting repeat on this one again and again.

If you caught Hurricane Bells on the road last spring, hopefully you were lucky enough to see them cover The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. The unexpected cover stole the live show. Here, though less dramatic than in person, the song is still open and expansively beautiful, with clear, clean vocals and delicate kisses of acoustic guitar that add a quiet flourish to the classic. The third cover, East River Pipe’s “Make a Deal With The City”, is a fine track, but it’s somewhat sleepy and the weakest of the three, fading behind the shadow of its more fabulous competition.

The original material fares a bit better, with “The Waiting Song” being the highlight. Faster paced and with a flowing, upbeat guitar line, the song’s lyrics are almost deceptively hopeful, making it clear that, though the relationship in question hasn’t gone according to plan, “the sun is up/it’s all I’m waiting for.” This is a song that begs to be listened to on a pleasant, warm morning. The other original track, “The Deep End”, is another slower piece that unfortunately fades a bit into its surroundings (the Blue October and Shirelles covers, respectively). It’s fine, but it’s not what you’ll remember about the album.

Overall? There are three tracks on this EP I’ll listen to again and again, and two I’ll forget. I’m sorry that one of those is an original track, because frankly, Tonight Is The Ghost demonstrated that Hurricane Bells’ own songwriting is enough to carry an album. Ultimately, I’m left wanting a bit more and replaying Ghost. Hopefully, Hurricane Bells has more of their dark, acoustic-flavored goodness on the way soon.

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