Bells Atlas – “Video Star”

Bells Atlas - Video Star

Bells Atlas is based out of Oakland, California, but listening to their superb new track “Video Star” it would be easy to place them somewhere in the Caribbean. Taking Afro-pop influence to another level, “Video Star” rides smoothly on tantalizing guitar licks, bouncy mallet lines, and hip-hop percussion, all over the soulfully moving vocals of Nigerian-American singer and percussionist Sandra Lawson-Ndu. Bells Atlas label their music as “Afro-Indie Soul”, a mouthful due to the quartet’s varied stylistic palates. In addition to Lawson-Ndu’s breathtaking presence, bassist Doug Stuart’s background in soul, jazz, and Afro-beat help solidify a vibrant rhythm section that helps maintain a warming array of colorful compositions. And then, in addition to lead guitarist Derek Barber, multi-instrumentalist Geneva Harrison handles more unconventional instrumental infusions like the mallets. Barber’s contributions are especially prevalent on “Video Star”, where angular guitar trickles allow the various instrumentation to reflect and stretch out. The four-piece has wonderful chemistry on record, and with Lawson-Ndu’s alleged live sampling abilities I can only imagine how exhilarating Bells Atlas’ live performances are. Bells Atlas will release their full-length debut this summer, and if “Video Star” is any indication they could be one of the hottest bands this year.

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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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