BY FRED MILLS
Asheville, NC, dream-pop combo Warm the Bell grew out of an earlier, not wholly dissimilar, project from Sean Robbins and Vickie Burick, Nevada, which amassed a sizable regional fanbase during the previous decade. Joining the duo is bassist Sam Brinkley, from Drunken Prayer and Rafe Hollister, and currently holding down the drumkit is another Nevada alumnus, Rick Shore. This time around, though, they have a healthy Americana injection as well, which yields a gorgeous, intriguing hybrid sound on You Are The Sun, the group’s second album.
For example, second track “Now I Know” has a gently choogling vibe that’s simultaneously Byrdsian and Galaxy 500-esque, jangly guitars and Robbins/Burick harmonies soaring heavenward even as the rhythms lock into a hypnotic, rolling pulse. Later, in “Big Love,” elements of vintage baroque pop surface even as buzzing, distorted electric riffs dart in and out of the mix, and it’s these sonic contrasts that conspire in the group’s utter uniqueness. From classic-tilting psychedelia like the woozy title track to the straightforward folkrock of “Nothing More” to the dreamy, gospellish, strings-laden shoegaze that is “Not Enough,” Warm the Bell is able to hit the sonic sweet spot over and over.
They’ll have you booking a trip to the North Carolina mountains soon enough so you can get a dose of ‘em firsthand.
DOWNLOAD: “Not Enough,” “You Are the Sun,” “Now I Know”