Their first live gig in London since returning from Las Vegas where they recorded their third studio album, the Howling Bells seemed determined to revisit their dark, enchanting rock.
The pint-sized singer Juanita Stein oozes charisma on stage, yet she demands respect as her powerfully rich voice rises above the rocking sounds.
Never has indie-noir sounded so sexy.
The majority of songs played at their Scala gig last week, were from the as yet untitled album, set to be released later this year.
The new EP title track, Invisible, was the opening song of the evening and marks a distinct step away from Radio Wars, while the new “Into the Sky” was a return to the Bells’ unique best.
The classics, if you can call them that, from the group’s self-titled debut album, received the most rousing reception of the evening.
The enthralling “Broken Bones” sees Stein howl that "broken bones may hurt, but a broken heart will never mend," and the slow-moving “Ballad for the Bleeding Hearts” is Stein at her sweet, melodic best, belting out that "I will scream just to get you to hold me down." There was also the uplifting “Setting Sun” which is the Bells at their pop-rock best.
There was also room for a couple of the group’s best songs from their second album Radio Wars, which wasn’t met with the critical acclaim of its predecessor. “Cities Burning Down” was a perfect blend of thunderous drum beats, striking guitar lines and captivating vocals. “Nightingale”, one of the sets last songs was a perfectly placed ballad which reveals the tenderness of Stein’s vocals, as she asks the crowd to "come sing with me a melody."
The Howling Bells are not to be taken lightly.
The EP is out now. The untitled third album will be released later in the year.