As you travel through each song of The Moon Rang Like a Bell
, the second full-length album from Hundred Waters, you feel as though you are trapped in a dream; it's dark, it's cold, and you are alone in the futuristic atmosphere that Hundred Waters has invited you to explore. And as you dream, each song creates another scene for your unconscious visions, each one fuzzily blending into the next, creating cohesion, but at the same time, confusion.
The wistful, ethereal tracks that create this dreamlike environment contain the same sprinkling of synthesizers, reverbs and off-kilter drumbeats from multi-instrumentalists Trayer Tryon, Paule Giese and Zach Tetrault, tied together by Nicole Miglis' breathy vocals, that are found on Hundred Waters' debut self-titled LP. But Hundred Waters seems to be more in command of what they want to achieve with these techniques in their sophomore album, so the band has not changed their sound, but polished it. The band has moved a bit away from the folk influences found on their first album, and has instead focused on the electronic aspects of their sound, while also expanding upon the role of Miglis' vocals.
Watch Hundred Waters In Concert on Baeble
Hundred Waters makes it clear that the core of their music rests with Miglis' vocals with album opener "Show Me Love," comprised solely of Miglis' voice at different points of her range singing something like a prayer in which she requests "Don't let me think weakly/Though I know that I can break." While the isolation of the singer's voice allows the listener to focus on the song's lyrics, the intelligibility of the lyrics in later tracks like "Cavity" and "No Sound" breaks down, and Miglis' voice instead is just another instrument layered into the sound. The incomprehensiveness of the songs perpetuates the dreamlike feel, because you don't have a real, tangible sense of what is going on. And with "Down from the Rafters," the dream turns into a nightmare. In the song, Miglis sings of a clammy body clutching her and being half alive, and she sings "Take a little pill, drown it out in laughter/Take a little pill, maybe think about it after," her solution to the ache caused by the love that is holding her hostage.
Although the eerie tone and lyrics of much of its songs may be a bit unsettling, The Moon Rang Like a Bell
is not an album to shy away from. Escape fully into the world that Hundred Waters offers you by listening to the album all the way through, or add a song onto the playlist for the party in your grungy basement. Either way, be sure to give yourself a break from the sunshine and pop of summer, and give the synthetic, mellow tunes of Hundred Waters a chance.
You can get the album on iTunes
, and you can watch the official video for "Cavity" below.