Friday, September 25, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 159 : Belly - Star

By: March

Album -Star
Artist - Belly
Key Players - Chris Gorman - drums, percussion. Fred Abong - bass. Thomas Gorman - guitars, organ. Tanya Donelly - guitars, vocals
Produced By - Tracy Chisholm and Belly

Release Date - January 25, 1993

What caused me to blow off the dust?
It was a band, that as I scanned the cd rack I really had a "it has been a long time" moment with.

Overview - All four members grew up in Newport, Rhode Island and formed as the Boston based band "Belly" in 1991. They'd release an ep before this album "Star" would be shared with the world. They'd attain success thanks to college radio and MTV Buzz play. The album would go Gold and the band would be nominated for two or three grammy awards for this record depending on sources I have found. They'd continue to write and perform, but the fan base was slowly moving along and the band called it quits in 1996.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - A lone guitar starts "Someone to Die For" as Donelly begins to sing. She is hushed, but has an angelic sound to her voice. A second guitar comes in after the second verse but it keeps the same feel/tone for the duration. "Angel" opens up also with a single guitar note, before the second guitar(s) come in and fill out the sound. Once the drums kick in about 30 seconds in the band is on a more rocking pace. After a few bars the vocals come in and Donelly fits the mold. Her style offsets the music, but in a good way. As the music might feel aggressive, she keeps things on an even keel. . "Dusted" is another quick and to the point rocking song. "Every Word" begins with a very clean guitar and Donelly singing before the bass and drums start up. Abong and Chris Gorman don't get very technical,but they hold the song together. The guitar has a unique chime to it as it strums over the spacy vocals. The band tinkers a little with some delayed guitars and other guitar effects later in the song before returning to the vocals. One of the singles for alternative radio was "Gepetto". The guitars have more punch and the drums more kick. The band seems really focused on this track. Donelly stretches out more vocally on this track and Abongs bass is pushed up more in the mix. There is a quick guitar run before the there are hints of backing vocals (sounds like Donelly overdubbed these) and there is a second run on the guitar. Two guitars start "Witch" a track that calms the listener down from the prior track. It done on the electric guitar but acoustics would have been just fine. A more compressed guitar opens "Slow Dog" which feels more rocking right from the outset. The band is good at mixing tempos going to places they haven't been on the record. The percussive instruments and bass again are more up in the mix. The tempo shifts just enough to keep it interesting. The longest track on the albums comes just about the half way point in "Low Red Moon". The guitars feel labored at the start before Donelly comes in and song feels dark for the duration. The bands big money song on the record is "Feed the Tree". The band shines with each guitar carrying a load, the drums punchy and the bass holding the steady line. The verses are sung at a good pace and as the song grows towards completion Donelly pushes herself more and gives off a lot of energy. "Full Moon, Empty Heart" is a mellower song and Donelly holds a note for what seems like ages, and bends it up a pitch before the band comes in. Musically the song is at a fun pace Donelly goes to the high vocal range from time to time. The more groove oriented "White Belly" has the two guitars feeding well off each other, but the drums are kept in the background, keeping a laid back tempo and slowly building but never really cracking a mold. Acoustic guitars dominate on "Untogether" a pretty, breathy song. There is some lap steel or dobro guitar work during the guitar solo. Donelly is the focus on the short track "Star", where she sings with an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. The buzzy and swirling guitars return on "Sad Dress". The track kicks up quickly, but it is not a fast song. The guitars are buzzy and the vocals are delayed and swirl between speakers. The vocals would rotate from almost chanting to full soaring chorus'. The record closes out with "Stay" another song that allows Donelly to be show cased vocally as the band takes a more laid back approach.

Where are they now? - The group disbanded in 1996. Abong left the band after "Star" and continues to perform. I was unable to find info on either of the Gormans. Donelly has continued as a solo artist, releasing records and working from time to time with her prior band "Throwing Muses".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I never saw the band live.

FDF Overall Take - I will admit the singles on the record I really do like, and they stand up. There are too many lulls in the record for me though. Donelly has a nice voice but at times I feel she is out of her range. The more rocking songs stand up better. It is not a terrible record by any stretch of the word. It can be found for not too much money (I found my copy for a dollar used) you should grab it.

Links -
Tanya Donelly official site and myspace page.

Fred Abong on myspace.

Finally, you can see what Tanya is doing with former band mate Kristin Hersh here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3's have been removed.

Feed the Tree

The tracks were taken from "Star" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 10:48 PM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

Feed the Tree is one of those songs that I completely forget about for years and then remember again how great it is when I hear it unexpectedly on the radio. Time to replace my cassette (ahem) with a used cd!!


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