CD Cover Belter

Review by Kevin Templeton

35-second excerpt from "Tundra" (269 Kb .au file)

I'm thankful to have finally gotten my paws on this new release from Vancouver trio Belter, having seen them about a year ago at the now-defunct Hungry Eye and being captivated by their set of monotonous-yet-inventive dirge rock. I distinctly recall the singer/bassist (also in Sex With Nixon) spewing his vocals forth in a rather twisted stream of consciousness sort-of-way, peering pervertedly out at the mainly docile gathering of people watching the heavy jam unfold.

Their CD, Dolly, sees the band rockin' on forward with a 40 minute studio recording of swirling, improv-style grunge that makes for several worthwhile listens. And to Belter's credit, you really can't distinguish many influences from the group's sound, despite the occasional use of heavy rock conventions on some of the disc's lesser tracks (of which there aren't many). The only point of reference I could come up with in describing Belter would be, perhaps, the early Sub Pop sound (old Soundgarden/Tad), yet far more likely to wander musically. Furthermore, the production on these songs seem solid, each instrument coming across as highly audible and precise, especially the non-stop bass groove and the tasteful leads. Strong chops, indeed.

I'm convinced that "Tundra" or (especially) "Baby Jane" should have a place on modern rock radio, and that "Good Tide," with its almost "sex on the beach" druggy/mellow vibe (interesting lyrics, too) shouldn't be far off that path as well.

So check out Dolly, especially if you've enjoyed the band in the live setting. While the disc's packaging may appear redundantly independent (it might not have been wise to omit the band's name from the front cover), Belter know how to rock the joint in major fashion.

Artist Contact Info: Turtle Records, #280, 2088 No. 5 Road, Richmond, B.C., V6X 2T1

First published in Drop-D Magazine on August 17, 1996

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