Out of all the bands keeping alive the ethereal cries of 80s doom and gloom, Arizonan darkwave band Bella Lune have managed to accomplish as much with a gentle and fragile finesse.
Since 2007, songwriting duo Fuchsia Angel and Kal3id have crafted tunes welded with the spacious soundscapes of Cocteau Twins, the pouty post-punk of The Cure, and a healthy dose of synthpop and electro to boot. Having shared the stage with the likes of Peter Murphy, Nitzer Ebb, and Lycia, and playing to a room full of pasty vampires at the Bram Stoker Film Festival, the band has made its rounds in establishing itself as a respectable brainchild in the realms of the darker side of alternative. Their latest release, 2013’s Secrets, follows suite, but with more organic and indie rock sensibilities to push the Lunes further into diverse territory.
Opener “Hollow Hearts” is trademark Bella Lune: delicate guitar lines gliding across soft dance beats and Angel’s heavenly and airy vocals. It is sure to satisfy Goth cravings, as is the groovy crawl of “The Long Way Home” and the brooding electro rock vibratos of “Take a Stand.” The most striking developments on Secrets is centred on “Utopian Dream,” the most euphoric and blissful song in the entire Bella Lune discography. Drenched in hazy shoegaze and breakbeat percussion, “Utopian Dream” is nothing short of sublime and all its synonyms in the thesaurus, evoking sunsets on beaches and moonlit pastures after midnight. “The Afterglow” and “Common Consciousness” are toned down to mid-paced indie rockers, a trait of Bella Lune that was strongly suggested in the past but never fully realized until this record.
“Another” is the most vexing song present on Secrets. Despondent but also detached, “Another” recounts the dissolution of a relationship with the self and with a partner as it sways across multiple layers of vocals, cold synth tapestries, and a frantic beat. In accordance with Bella Lune’s ever evolving tinkering with sounds, this requiem for the past also looks to future pushes toward making this atmosphere more significant.
With so many different changes and progressions that post-punk and industrial have endured through the decades, Bella Lune has always been both a renaissance of the old but also a subtle amalgam of all the most meaningful descriptions of Goth. Morose and sombre, but also beautiful and benign, with a touch of dance, Fuchsia and co.’s brand of graveyard melodies have qualities that appeal to dark souls from all walks of the night. Secrets continues that push into more varied territory while keeping in line with what makes Bella Lune an important band to keep under constant watch.