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9 months since the release of Six Lenins, THE PROPER ORNAMENTS are back with

Mission Bells, a sombre but uplifting record that began its life while they were on

tour earlier this year, when new ideas emerged in different soundchecks around


James Hoare, Bobby Syme and Max Oscarnold, the founders of the group, recruited

Nathalie Bruno as a bassist for the tour, and then the four.piece began recording in

the summer at Hoares home studio in Finsbury Park, London, using the same 16

track Studer tape machine as on their previous record, but this time they incorporated

a moog sequencer and other electronics instruments.

On these recordings, meticulous attention to detail is never deployed as an end in

itself but always with the song and sound in mind. As the Mission Bells sing, echoes

of black albums Velvets, Swell Maps, Spiritualized and Cluster might reach inside your

brain, but the truth is that its hard to pinpoint influences on an album that is the fifth

in the life of this band, as they have been becoming more and more themselves, not

needing to look elsewhere for inspiration.

This is not a retro band, they just happened to like playing guitar, a preference that

began, at least for James Hoare and Max Oscarnold, when they were 9 years old.

Whoever is familiar with their previous records might agree that Mission Bells has

a lot of the innocent elements (drum machines underneath simple songs) of their

first record, Waiting For The Summer, the melancholy of Foxhole and their heavy

live sounds, as drummer Bobby Syme points out. But its the lyrical maturity that is

the real achievement on this record. The words can be read as a William Burroughs

cut up experiment on what it is to live in these Dystopian times.

Mission Bells is a majestic achievement, a musical maelstrom, its harmonies drawing

the inclined listener into an irreversible somnambulant state, caught between

dreamland and waking hours. The beauty of it is, you wont want to escape, even

though the door is flung open as your postmodern life awaits you outside...



1. Purple Heart

2. Downtown

3. Black Tar

4. The Wolves At The Door

5. Broken Insect

6. The Impeccable Lawns

7. Echoes

8. Flophouse Calvary

9. Strings Around Your Head

10. The Park

11. Music Of The Traffic

12. Cold

13. Tin Soldiers

  • Rock/Pop

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