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The Van Allen Belt | Songs

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Pop: with Electronic Production Pop: Dream Pop Moods: Type: Vocal
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by The Van Allen Belt

This 3-song EP is a preface to the band's 3rd LP "Heaven On A Branch" it is available as a limited edition 7" vinyl, 45 rpm
Genre: Pop: with Electronic Production
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Humanist Hymn
2:11 $0.99
2. Taste
3:01 $0.99
3. Songs
4:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"Unusual Pittsburgh pop quartet whose music runs an insanely wide path, recalling everything from Blondie to the first White Noise album at various times. Quite a nice way to remake/remodel things by shifting them around right before our ears."
Byron Coley - The Wire Magazine (Issue 355, September 2013)

"Fluctuating between psychedelic arias, grandiose cinematic scores, off-kilter jazz and swirling breakbeats, The Van Allen Belt successfully sweep through and cram a myriad of styles and ideas into just one song, where others may use a whole album, without producing, it must be said, a directionless mess.

Originally borne from the filmmaker enthused mind of songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Benjamin K. Ferris, in 2007, the group is led vocally by the lyrically dexterous operatic and melting soulful jazz intonations of Tamar Kamin; complemented when on tour and playing live by both electronic musician, percussionist and video artist Scott Taylor and guitar/bassist Tom Altes.

The latest three-track single, Songs, is the first release in three-years from Pittsburgh’s omnivorous collective; a continuation you could say, despite the break, of their last metatextual soundtrack imbued halcyon LP, Superpowerfragilis. Amorphous and often left untethered from a definitive melody or chorus, their free rolling approach is extremely difficult – in a positive way -to pin down.

Contextualised loops and fragrance surreal pop curveballs bring in the eponymous opening suite as Tamar swoons and hops between the enchanted awkwardness of Os Mutants and The Dirty Projectors. Progressive and quite ethereal in atmosphere, ‘Songs’ plays around with what we may recall as familiar sounds, collected from the last fifty or more years, to unfurl a quite challenging sensibility. So the west coast psychedelic scene of the late 60s, the production of Spector, the Fifth Dimension, trip hop, Moloko, Bjork, Parenthetical Girls and Debbie Harry can all make redolent appearances at some point during the performance.

Keeping those polygenesis references to a minimum, ‘Humanist Hymn’ is a more sedately romantic affair. Skipping sampled beats, a gilded piano and flighty but lamentably 70s balladeer vocals once again dreamily reimagine contemporary values and love pained expression “through the monitor of 1960’s production.”

I’m not entirely sure where the African vibraphone jaunt turn industrial electro, watery vocal effects, ‘Taste’, sits in the whole scheme of things, but it’s once again another example of the Van Allen’s illimitable capability to absorb all manner of strange and exotic influences into their ambitious, movie styled, panoramas."
Dominic Valvona - Monolith Cocktail

At this stage I have completely run out of superlatives to describe the wonderfulness of Pittsburgh’s the Van Allen Belt so from this sentence forth effusiveness will be in short supply. Oh fuck it who am I kidding, how can I muzzle a deep rooted belief that this group are one of the greatest living embodiments of musical endeavour on the planet. And their new single release ‘Songs’ (on vinyl no less) does nothing to disprove the theory as it segues between genres in a wildly inventive manner. Tamar Kamin arrives in pristine condition via her time capsule from the 60′s while Ben Ferris tries to subdue a mind that is forever on the verge of spilling an overcrowded cargo of zany subplots. Of course they don’t sound like anything else, which probably explains why the vast majority of the populace run right back into the arms of something that is altogether grayer by comparison. Their time will come."
Kevin Dunphy - MP3 Hugger



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