On October 25th, Steve Schiltz is releasing Hurricane Bells' second disc, Tides and Tales, on his imprint Invisible Brigades. This 12-track / 40 minute disc builds on the melancholy late-night vibe of 2009's Tonight is the Ghost but, this time out, Schiltz utilized a full band during the recording process which leaves this disc sounding more cohesive than its predecessor. Contributing to this disc are: Ashen Keilyn (Scout), who’s toured with Hurricane Bells from its inception; Christian Bongers (bass) and Colin Brooks (drums), who round out the live band; Travis Harrison (drums); Justin Furstenfeld of Blue October, who plays harmonica on two tracks; and Dave Doobinin (who is in Son of George along with Steve Schiltz), who sings on “Let’s Go.”
The disc starts where Tonight is the Ghost left off with the track "I've Got A Second Chance", which takes its inspiration from a sign posted by the owner of Coney Island’s Steeplechase Amusement Park after the park burnt down that read: “I have troubles today that I had not yesterday. I had troubles yesterday which I have not today.” This track also sets the lyrical tone for the disc as most of Shiltz's songs are tales of loss and love gone bad.
Musically, Hurricane Bells touches on Byrdsian-pop ("The Ghost of Her"), swirling indie-rock ("Hours Like Days", "Possibilities"), Teenage Fanclub style alt-rock ("Let's Go") along with a number of other styles. There are also two upbeat instrumentals - "Piano Stunt", which breaks in mid-way through the disc and "The Hunger Moon" which closes out the disc. Rather than sounding schizophrenic with all of these stylistic jumps, the songs flow and sound like the band had fun recording them. The track "Let's Go" ends with a snippet of studio banter where someone says "That was pretty good, right?".
While I don't think any of the tracks on this new disc are going to hit as hard as "Monsters" (from The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack), up-tempo tracks like "Possibilities" and "Let's Go" show Shiltz's songwriting moving in the right direction.