Befitting of their exotic name alt-indie outfit Belles of Moscow are an international band who formed in the musically storied city of Bristol. The west country-via-Germany-and-South Africa six piece feature vocalist George Everett, guitarists Jamie Skey and Ollie Kreislers, keyboardist Jonas Diete, bassist Adrian Girodo and drummer Ebn Mars.
Bristol has an impeccable reputation for spawning compelling music, and Belles Of Moscow, with their slow-burn anthemics (bringing to mind the likes of The Cure, Red House Painters, Radiohead, The Antlers and R.E.M) are set to continue that grand tradition.
Their story, like some of the greatest works of fiction, began with an ending. The sudden and tragic passing of a close friend in 2014 inspired Skey to write set of songs in tribute to his lost friend. Creating beauty out of tragedy became a way not only to soothe the pain but to celebrate the good times, the shared formative experiences that made him who he is today. Appropriately, the band’s dark but uplifting music mingles both deep sorrow and joie de vivre.
The guitarist’s early bedroom-recorded demos became fully fleshed mini-epics by the summer of 2017 thanks to the addition of Everett’s heartfelt falsetto, Diete’s classically-flavoured piano, and the quietly muscular rhythm section intuitively built by Girodo and Mars. The following summer, they upped the ante with the addition of guitarist Ollie Kreislers, who texturises their songs with silvered ribbons of emotion.
From the off, the band’s modus operandi was to probe some of life’s greyest areas. Accordingly, they deal with themes not for the faint of heart: death (‘Feed the Stones’) and near-death experiences (‘Horses’); psychedelic adventures (‘Strange Stars’, ‘Old Gods’); and sexual fantasies (‘Dead Hush’) are all tackled with a poet’s eye for both the fantastical and the concrete. As a result, Belles Of Moscow conjure troubled, vividly crafted anthems that invite close self-examination.
Their first recording, ‘Feed The Stones’, was recorded amid the hedonistic spirit of Bristol’s seedy Gloucester Road, the city’s epicentre for sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The song itself is a tender funeral waltz that encapsulates the heavy-heartedness following the loss of a friend. Their latest EP ‘Strange Stars’ builds on that flowering grandeur, adding grit and directness to the mix.
The band are a fully self-sufficient unit. Everything is crafted in house, whether that’s Mars’ Steve Gullick-inspired black and white photography or Girodo’s refined graphic design. Together, they’ve forged a strikingly stark package.
There are plans for the summer of 2018 to play as many gigs and festivals as possible.
Watch this space.
Belles of Moscow’s tracks