FOR FANS OF
Variety is the spice of life, so Sunday Bell Ringers is once again sailing a new course. Joeri Cnapelinckx (Tommigun, De Anale Fase) has infused his brainchild with crackling drum computers and distortion synthesizers, leaving only a minimal trace of the atmospheric indie of their self-titled debut from 2011. The sound of second album ‘SBR’ (release 20/01) is dirtier, rawer and better, without losing any of its intensity.
The commute between the Burg theatre in Vienna - for which Cnapelinckx composed the music of the 4-hour-long German-language theatre piece ‘Troja’ – and his home studio in the countryside in Merchtem (Belgium) was the birthplace of the spine of ‘SBR’. Utterly without compromise, based on groovy demos of drum computers and crackling effect pedals. “I no longer wanted to hide behind a piano and just write beautiful harmonic songs”, says Cnapelinckx.
The interaction between Mattijs Vanderleen (drums, samples), Mark Van Ransbeecke (guitar), Bart Verdonck (bass, guitar) and Eva Vermeiren (saxophone) was also smoother. “More than ever, ‘SBR’ was about spontaneity. Every band member was given free rein in the writing process; everyone could come up with a synth part or guitar line. We cut across the classical patterns and allowed for more experiments.” There is the electro funk on ‘Pageturner’, ‘May’ and ‘April’; catchy pop songs that bask in the filth of distortion and other effects. “I was indirectly influenced by The Prodigy in that. There’s a cinematic quality to their way of creating an atmosphere and subsequently unleashing the demons.”
In a way, ‘SBR’ is a personal liberation for Joeri Cnapelinckx. “I’ve recently rolled into electro and dance. Could this be my second childhood that brings back the former rebellion?” Though you could hardly pass Sunday Bell Ringers off as a dance or beat machine. “It’s more like we’ve made a record to paint to on a Saturday afternoon. The predominant atmosphere of the music is too dismal for the nightlife; there are moments when you can feel the drama dripping from the songs. But I am going to make a real dance album sooner or later.”
Besides the balancing act of Sunday Bell Ringers, credit is also due to Pim De Wolf (Tommigun) who took on the mixing of ‘SBR’. “As soon as the band was done with a song, Pim would go to work on it. He was never in the studio but worked individually and took the artistic decisions by himself, without our permission. As if he was the sixth member of the band”, Cnapelinckx continues. “Perhaps I did need someone from the outside. I personally don’t have the patience to mix a complete album and, in all honesty, Pim simply made the songs better than before.”
‘SBR’ is: nine songs spread over forty minutes of which every second sticks with you: from the hyper active ‘Electric Joe’, on to the semi-tragedy of ‘Wild Cats’ to the dance funk in ‘May’. Sunday Bell Ringers shoots subsequently at your legs, hips, ribs and the left side of your chest. To be played loud into the night – the neighbours will thank you.
Joeri Cnapelinckx (Keyboard, Beats, Vocals)
Mattijs Vanderleen (Drums, Sampling)
Mark Van Ransbeecke (Guitar, Vocals)
Bart Verdonck (Bass, Guitar, Vocals)
Eva Vermeiren (Saxophone, Vocals)
‘SBR’ was recorded in Studio Tuinhuisrecordings/Merchtem by Joeri Cnapelinckx and Ruben Hoogewys
Mixed by Pim De Wolf
Mastering by Wouter Vlaeminck
Produced by Sunday Bell Ringers