ALBUM REVIEW: Del Bel - Oneiric

Some albums are best enjoyed late at night, alone, with a pair of high-quality headphones. Del Bel's debut record, Oneiric, is one of them. The music is dense, layered and haunting - each song a surreal world of its own, often emerging from the swirling depths of echo-laden guitars, horns and synth. Lisa Conway's voice is eerily soothing, floating throughout the hazy orchestrations and instrumental interplay. The album opens with "Dusk Light", a pretty song with a steady, plodding rhythm that kicks in after a minute of euphoric sounds and textures. Punctuating each melancholic verse is a bright, melodic interlude featuring harmony vocals and horns.

Contrasting the relatively pretty and almost dance-able opener is Oneiric's haunting centerpiece, "Beltone". Over the brooding rhythm and tortured strings, Conway asks, "How does one fight the dark with no guns and no will to go on?" The song builds with frenzied, tremolo guitar wrangling and a firm 6/8 beat, eventually fading into darkness.

Overall, Oneiric holds a dark and cinematic quality. Tyler Belluz claims to have been influenced by the films of independent filmmaker Jim Jarmussch. There is a continuity to the album that is similar to the flow of a surreal film. The sparse, ambient production lends itself to a ghostly, black-and-white vibe reflected in the album's cover.

By Seamus Erskine


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