New Belly polished but disappointing

By Joshua Dalton

Arizona Daily Wildcat



Sire Records

When college radio darlings Belly first appeared on the music scene two years ago, they met with a respectable degree of commercial success. Their album Star went gold and the singles "Feed the Tree" and "Gepetto" made the Billboard Top 40.

Former Throwing Muse and Breeder Tanya Donnelly and her ensemble (Christopher Gorman on drums, Thomas Gorman on guitar and piano, and Gail Greenwood on bass and backing vocals) have returned, but their sophomore effort, King, may not be worthy of as much recognition.

The same charms, the twangy-edged, distorted guitar, the low and powerful bass and drums, and Donnelly's strong, yet childlike voice, are still audible, yet there are differences between the two albums. The tracks on King are longer chunks of altern-a-pop than those on Star, although rarely tedious. And although one could describe King as a more structured, mature, and polished effort, it lacks the sense of abandon that was present on Belly's previous release.

That is not to say that there is no energy on King. The song "Super-Connected" is an entertaining, danceable number that virtually runs to the ears of any listener. The same can be said of the title track, the first single "Now They'll Sleep," and, what is arguably the best song on the album, "Red."

King also has it's acoustic moments. "The Bees" is an enjoyable song with fairly frightening lyrics about the breakdown of a mother-son relationship ("We're on the road to messy ... If your heart is not on my side, you're not on my side any more).

"Seal My Fate" starts out as a soothing acoustic number, but soon turns into a driving tune the likes of "Red." Unfortunately, neither of these songs are as memorable as "Untogether" or "Stay" from Star.

Fans of Star will likely enjoy King and should at least give it a fair listen. However, they should not expect to be wowed.

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