La Bella - Ides (a guest review #1)

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La bella recensione. The good review or just a guest review for La Bella’s latest record called Ides written by our dear friend Jacopo S. who plays drums in a band called Øjne.

"We can find each other using veins as maps, tributaries for our vexed bones when our hopes collapse". Ten seconds in and you're already breathless, like you're in the middle of a chase, aggressively absorbed by the fast-paced drums, the biting guitars, the angry vocals. "Can we find each other in these small dark rooms? Screaming for new worlds without lending hands". Twenty seconds in and the first feeling is one of relief: yes, this record is good, it's passionate, sincere and it has something to say; it's not going to disappoint or to be boring, no matter how difficult it is to make an interesting screamo full length, one without fillers or instrumental interludes that sometimes are just a bit out of context. That's how Germinal, the first song of new La Bella's record Ides, starts, and it's literally just the beginning. In the same song we can find fast hardcore parts, melodic slowdowns, as well as an epic ending where it's impossible not to sing along to. Once the song is over you even wonder if there's more to listen to. And well, yeah, there is.

La Bella are from Los Angeles, and they've already released a demo in 2011 and an EP called Recompositions the year after. To be frank, I haven't listened to any of their previous works, and I don't feel the need to do it: Ides, released in January this year, is much more than enough for me at the moment. That way I cannot really see, in what ways this band has progressed or improved in the past four or five years, but I don't even know if that's particularly relevant. What's relevant to me is that it's not just Germinal, the first song, which is a little masterpiece: it's all of the eight songs of this record. It's a great record, with a fresh new sound, a record that flows perfectly and leaves you wanting for more. More than anything, though, it's eight different songs that are perfectly written, feeling like pieces of a puzzle that you can compose and recompose as many times as you want. Unlike many records, in which songs work together to make the whole thing great in the end, here it feels like every single song is a story on its own, with its beginning, its core and its ending. From the jazzy tunes of Silver Spool to the slower emo vibe of Harbinger, until the liberating and emotional vortex of Skein, the final track, the songwriting is always impressive, with each song finding its own way to evolve, change and explode.

La Bella reminds me both of old emo/screamo bands of the 90s and of recent hardcore resp. screamo acts. If I have to name bands, I would say they sound like a mix between Hot Cross and Comadre. Anyway, what I feel is that this band doesn't really try to play like any other band, and probably doesn't even want to sound "screamo". More simply, they learned the lesson of hardcore in all of its aspects: passion, rage, attitude, and they translated it into their own language, adding elements of post-hardcore, emo, jazz, blues and much more. And sure, the whole record is angry and powerful, but most of all it's a record of hope and empowerment. It is hope that violently emerges more than anything else in the lyrics, in every single word sincerely screamed by the singer, in the hysteric guitars, in the urgent basslines and in the excellent yet neurotic drumming. It is relevant to say that for a while the money raised through digital sales was donated by the band to a group of anti-fascists who were either arrested or stabbed after a fight with some members of the KKK in Anaheim, California. In an international music scene where politics are too often taken for granted, La Bella are pure gold in so many ways.

"we can take what's ours, we can forge new bonds. We are the birds of the coming storm..."

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