ANDY BELL – ” The View From Halfway Down “

Posted: October 9, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Andy Bell 'The View From Halfway Down' LP

Ride guitarist / singer Andy Bell releases his debut solo album “The View From Halfway Down”. The product of a gradual, four-year process and finished during lockdown, the album was entirely written and recorded by Andy, Back in 2016, Andy was inspired by David Bowie’s death to be more proactive about finishing his songs, more confident about sharing them and to channel all of this into finally making a solo album. He laid down some tracks in former Beady Eye and Oasis bandmate Gem’s studio, but got diverted when Ride’s live reunion blossomed into a full return. A run of two albums, an EP and two world tours later, it would take a pandemic to give Andy the space to complete The View From Halfway Down.

Honing in on Andy Bell’s exacting song writing skills, ‘The View From Halfway Down’ packs eight songs into a mere 42 minute run time. ‘Cherry Cola’ is a fizzing delight, while opener ‘Love Comes In Waves’ is the sound of pure abandon.

‘Ghost Tones’ is playfully melancholy, with Andy Bell conjuring opaque ambient tones on spaced out closer ‘Heat Haze On Weyland Road’. A refined, contoured example of his song writing, he closed 2020 by releasing ‘Cherry Cola’ as a stand alone single, featuring a nimble acoustic take, and a typically searching Pye Corner Audio remix.

From the ecstatic psych pop of “Love Comes In Waves”, to the heady loops of “Indica” and deeply groove-led “Skywalker”, the eight tracks mix summery melodies with soundscapes and studio experimentation. The end result sits neatly between Ride’s widescreen shoegaze and GLOK’s textured electronics, variously inspired by The Stone Roses, Spacemen 3, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beta Band, Stereolab, Neu!, Can, John Fahey, The Kinks, The La’s, The Who and the United States Of America.

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Andy Bell of Ride (and Oasis and Beady Eye), a solo album, The View from Halfway Down. This is Bell’s first under his own name, rather than his pseudonym, Glok, the culmination of finishing songs he had been tinkering with on and off for years. This doesn’t mean that The View from Halfway Down sounds like a Bowie or Ride record. It sounds like who Bell is as a person: unfussy and understated, go-along and get-along. You would be forgiven in thinking The View from Halfway Down is just like another Ride album based on the powered-up shoegaze vibes of opener, “Love Comes in Waves” or the dreamy “I Was Alone.” That idea is soon extinguished with the psychedelic strains of “Indica” the Stone Roses-esque warbles of “Skywalker” and the slow, bass-based “Cherry Cola.” He includes three instrumentals: the spare and beautiful, guitar-based “Ghost Tones” the experimental, indie-prog rock “Aubrey Drylands Gladwell,” and the IDM-ish album closer, “Heat Haze on Weyland Road.” Bell packs a lot into the eight songs on The View from Halfway Down, touching on a lot of styles in the process, and all of it works.

So there you have it. The near death of a cartoon anti-hero and the actual death of a music legend, feeling the calm within a global pandemic and a musical turning point halfway through life all add up to one glorious, technicolour whole Released October 9th, 2020 All tracks written and performed by Andy Bell.

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