Monday, 12 March 2012
Review: Neill Bell
Neill Bell - Before De Forest (Ringdabell Music Company)
Neill Bell recorded, produced and released his debut album when he was 17 years old. Now in his early 30s, “Before De Forest” is his sixth album, yet it retains many of the same attributes as his early work. There’s passion, emotion and a willingness to experience life and whatever it throws up; perhaps he’s a little more bruised and battered these days, but he hangs onto hope like a drowning man clinging to driftwood.
Simply recorded with just voice and guitar, the paucity of instrumentation concentrates the mind wonderfully on the words, and they’re always worth hearing. Like his influences - on his website he talks about Ryan Adams, Adam Duritz and Damien Rice – he’s unafraid to demonstrate his vulnerability, but never resorts to tuneless lamentations or pure emotional release. Every song is fully formed, though presented in the simplest of formats, and it’s very much a collection of songs, to be experienced in one sitting, rather than individually. For that reason, it’s likely radio will turn its collective nose up, but bedsit dwellers and broken-hearted fools will spend many happy hours unwinding double and triple meanings from “Before De Forest”.