Sometimes, I’ll hear an album for the first time in circumstances so perfect for the sound that the memory of that moment influences every subsequent listen. The lush weepiness of Mazzy Starr on a ruined, rainy afternoon, or the bad craziness of Happy Flowers on a camping trip involving psychedelics… I can’t hear either of these without feeling that completely appropriate feeling.
I was driving to work on the first nice — I mean really nice — day of the year. It had been cold or rainy or overcast ever since the holidays. As I marveled at the clarity of the sky, the wobbly organ tones of “In” filtered through and one of the best opening lines I’ve heard (“I saw you kissing Jesus… “) slithered out of the car speakers. And everything fit together…
Ever since, a listen to Ciao Bella’s clever pop always brings a smile to my face. This album seems to collect five years of output from this band, essentially a duo, and as a result has a significant number of ups and downs. Still, their style is timeless, and their talents are undeniable. If the buying public were into melodies and smart songwriting, pop would once again stand for “popular.” As it is, Ciao Bella will have to be our special secret. March Records, 121 Varick Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10013; http://www.well.com/user/dragster/march.html