[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Fall has now been scratching at the door for a couple weeks, so here’s the perfect accompaniment for the changing of the guard. This is a short, sweet and addictive little EP which Bel has put out. Sorry, there are only five songs on ‘Defining the Leaders’ but what songs they are. Running the full distance between low and mid tempo, I really couldn’t have seen what was coming. For a start, he sings and secondly, his song craft is very precise in what it aims to do.
The sensation of being at a busy intersection while the snow begins to fall is how most of this feels but there are some moments on here where the lights go out and all you have to focus on are single notes. He’s quite adept at that, you know; these tracks are imbued with the rich textures of solitude and insomnia… topped off with a dash of melancholy. So this is how he sounds when he’s given over to melody and meter. If you’re not of an introspective nature this one will get to you regardless, because the choices he makes with his palette and the tone he strikes could not be more complimentary. I’m just wishing there were more because I can’t stop playing it, there’s something vaguely familiar going on but I’m unable to put my finger on it.
So back I go, burning these pieces into my mind.
Whenever you look out your window and wonder why it won’t stop raining or when the wind kicks up and the leaves rattle at your door remember this: someone you’ve never met probably knows why and he’s sealed the answers onto this release. I suppose eventually I’ll decipher the code but I’m in no hurry and these compositions keep developing before my very eyes.
Thomas Bel – Defining the Leaders