new music: bells atlas return with the magestic ‘hyperlust’ ep #soundcheck

June 5, 2015

There are a lot of ways you can measure the quality of music, and all of them are pretty subjective and in the moment. Maybe you were going through a breakup and it was the perfect heart-break anthem, maybe it was a song in the background of a perfect summer day, or a song you listened to on repeat on a life-defining road trip. The closest to an objective measure of quality is staying power. There are a lot of records I’ve fallen in love with on first listen and then never gotten around to a second listen. Bells Atlas are not one of those bands. Their debut self-titled from 2013 has become a staple of my music library, a collection of songs I have returned to so often that they’ve become an essential part of the fabric of my music world, equal in persistence to Prince, Fugazi, or Leadbelly. All of that is to say, I’ve been hungry for more for 2 years now. With their latest Hyperlust EP, the undefinable Bells Atlas deliver on that anticipation.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

The 4 songs that make up Hyperlust follow Bells Atlas’ infectious blend of Afrocarribean rhythms, soul melodies, and indie rock sensibilities. Vocalist Sandra Lawson-Ndu weaves entrancing melodies around bassist Doug Stuart and guitarist Derek Barber’s mercurial lines. Her songs evoke questions of existentialism; “Future Bones” looks at her own remains from the past, asking “If what is left is an energy / then what is gone?” That the songs are eminently danceable and smooth is a smoke screen, hiding the thoughtful introspection beneath.

The EP closes out with the propulsive “Bling.” The refrain “what do you mean? I don’t know” is the exestential call and response at the heart of this EP. At their best, Bells Atlas deliver miniature sonic snowglobes you can lose yourself in. Here are 4 such snowglobes. Go lose yourself.
Also, because they’re cool, here’s randomizer that gives you a free song. I got “Bling.”