I’m back! I hope you all treated the Wizard Rock Reviewbot 3000 nicely while I was away – thon gets a little cranky at times. This week we will be taking a look at one of my favorite old-school wizard rock bands – Bella’s Love.
Hailing from… somewhere, I don’t really know now that MySpace no longer puts the location in the header, or anywhere on a band’s page at all, to be precise, Bella’s Love was one of the first “indie” wrock bands – a band that started smack dab in the middle of the heyday of wizard rock’s first bands, sometime in 2006, before the big deluge of new bands in 2007, but never really got much wide-spread recognition. In fact, probably one of the only ways they got any attention at all is that they were one of the first wizard rock bands to release a full album, online, completely for free.
And it’s not particularly hard to see why Bella’s Love never really got off the ground – the production values are pretty damn low, the sound is not super marketable and at times downright experimental, and the main vocalist (given that MySpace has decided that personal information about your band is no longer necessary, I am forced to speculate at his name, let’s say… Elvendork) is no great shakes, having a voice that even I think of as sometimes annoying – and that’s coming from someone who loves Fishboy, They Might Be Giants, and Michael Guy Bowman.
However, if you’re willing to look past a lack of aural aesthetics, there is some great stuff going on under the hood of Bella’s Love. For one, while there are some of your more basic love songs – a Harry/Ginny, a Remus/Tonks, as well as the obligatory song about being sad that people died, there’s a Harmony song, surprisingly rare in the realm of wrock for how popular that ship once was, a Harry/Cho song, which also didn’t see much play, an extensive look into the Occlumency scenes from Order of the Phoenix, a song about Aragog, and a song about freakin’ Eloise Midgen.
And beyond just having rare subject matter, these are well-written songs, with clever rhymes, lyrics that explore the depth of often passed-over characters or scenes, and it’s all lent a raw intensity by Elvendork’s passionate delivery, from his wheedling as Eloise Midgen, to his outright screaming “Occlumency, why do you hate me?” Moreover, some of these are supremely catchy songs, from the dark but frenetic “When All Else Fails Break into your Teachers Mind to Look at His Ill Forgotten Memories”, to the sweetly earnest “Love Is A Picnic On The Rocks”, to the absolutely amazing “Aragog Tonight”.
Yeah, that’s right, I said “absolutely amazing”, and that song really is. A fun exploration of the events of Chapter 22 of Half-Blood Prince, “Aragog Tonight” also is one of the catchiest and most fun to sing along to songs in all of wizard rock, and has some rather incredible acoustic guitar work near the end. It’s the kind of song you find yourself singing in the shower and on the way to work, and is easily in my Top 50 wrock songs of all time.
Fortunately, you can still download Elvendork’s debut and only album, The Standard Book of Awesome, at the Internet Archive. I would greatly recommend doing so, and treating yourself to a blast from wizard rock’s past. Next time, we look at a more recent, but similarly short-lived wizard rock band, with a unique lyrical take on the genre. Until then, Wrock Snob out.