The Moon Rang Like a Bell
Hundred Waters, an indie-rock band from Gainesville, Florida just released its sophomore album, The Moon Rang Like a Bell, Tuesday.
The band has a very unique sound. Its music resembles a combination of The xx and Sigur Ros or Radiohead. Singer Nicole Miglis' voice floats above the texture and uses very little vibrato, almost in the style of Medieval or Renaissance England vocal technique. This technique is brought into the 21st century with a heavy electronics and modern rhythmic and harmonic ideas.
This album, like the band's first self-titled debut, is thoughtful and calculative. It is full of complex rhythms and abstract harmonies and it pushes the boundaries of the use of electronic sound in popular music. The electronic instruments blend seamlessly with traditional instruments, making it hard to tell sometimes what is electronic and what isn't.
The album begins with "Show me love," a short, intimate song with Miglis' voice as the only instrument. She harmonizes with herself through the use of multitrack recording technology.
It continues with atmospheric electronic melodies and a sweeping, diverse vocal texture. The band experiments with a variety of electronic, melodic and harmonic effects. For example, in "Out Alee," Hundred Waters uses pentatonic scales to give the song a more exotic feel. In "innocent," Miglis experiments with her vocal palate by singing in the outer reaches of her vocal range. Finally, "[Animal]" introduced some dance-like themes that were very different from the rest of the band's music, but Hundred Waters pulled it off quite well.
Despite the overall use of rhythmic and harmonic precision, the music has a shimmering, ethereal texture. Unlike the band's first album,The Moon Rang Like a Bell plays with the idea of rhythmic ambiguity in songs such as "Broken Blue" and "Chambers (Passing Train)." Not that these tracks are any less precise. In these tracks, the sound washes over the listener instead of beating its way inside the listener with rhythmic patterns.
The band did a good job with its sophomore album because it maintained the characteristic Hundred Waters sound while exploring new musical ideas.
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