Review: The Van Allen Belt – Superpowerfragilis

There is surely no band quite like Pittsburgh’s The Van Allen Belt. After being introduced to their startling music via the Irish digital label Indiecater, that idea still holds for the follow-up. The group’s chief skills is to create authentically ambitious soundtrack music that wouldn’t sound out of place in Hollywood films from the 1950’s-1970’s, were it not for the bizarre lyrical matter.

‘Out Of Lunch’ is the kind of twisted take on musicals that the act have specialised in and sets the scene for equal parts brilliance and madness. The arrangements on ‘The Way You Look’ is worthy of Bacharach with only the earthy lyrics bringing the listener back down to this planet. However inventive the production is though, Tamar Kamin is just as important to the Van Allen Belt sound, showing great versatility with her powerful vocals; particularly impressive in her sassy soul siren guise for ‘1997’ and downright scary for the unhinged ‘The Status Quo (A Line Dance)’.

‘Superpowerfragilis’ didn’t excite me quite as much as their debut but that’s partly because I knew what to expect. Nevertheless, they are a band who are still in a rather wonderful world of their own and their power to subvert popular music genres shows no signs of running out.

Web Sites:
The Van Allen Belt MySpace

Further Listening:
The Avalanches


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