Review- “Oneiric”- Del Bel

reviewed by Michael Thomas

The word “oneiric” is defined as “of or relating to dreams.” A very uncommon word for a very uncommon album.

Del Bel is the project of Tyler Belluz and features vocals by Lisa Conway, plus other contributions from members of Ohbijou, Entire Cities, Do Make Say Think and others.

The word that the band uses to describe the music is “cinematic” and it seems to be a fairly accurate term. Much like Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On, this album is very atmospheric. I even heard a bit of Timber Timbre-esque swamp-ness in a few of Oneiric‘s songs.

What makes Oneiric so different, though, is that the album captures a variety of atmospheres, not just the gloom that seems to be so easily producible these days. While some songs are sombre, there are a few upbeat numbers that shatter the doom and gloom, at least temporarily.

“Dusk Light” is a song that earns its title well. The guitar riffs that open the song are accompanied by shimmers of electronics, giving off an illusion of twilight. The horns and drums only make the song even more dreamy and Conway’s vocals make the song a fantastic introduction.

The song immediately following the previous, “Stirring Bones,” is one of the upbeat numbers I mentioned before. Though quite macabre in its titling, the staccato guitar playing and the oh-so-smooth bass-playing makes this song one to dance to. The same dance quality can be heard in “No Reservation” which has a jazz flair to it, something that can be faintly heard on several other Oneiric tracks.

“Beltone” is probably the epitome of eerieness, with faint but screeching strings bringing up the background and sparse and dark guitar chords in the foreground. The last four songs return to a sombre note, with the song “Invisible” sounding like a funeral. “Shadow” closes the album as just an instrumental piece, but indicative of the dark atmosphere that Oneiric creates.

This made a few critics’ top albums of 2011 and rightfully so. Get it via Bandcamp, and pick up a physical copy while they’re still in stock.

Top Tracks: “Stirring Bones”; “The Unknown”

Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*

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