Belly To Release First Album In 23 Years And New Single Sounds Fab

What were you doing 23 years ago? Most people would say that 23 years feels like a lifetime away, or at least a generation ago, since in fact a human can be born, grow up and hopefully move out in that length of time. People change, lives change, and it seems like a real long shot for anyone to go back and pick up where they left off 23 years ago, no matter what it was they were doing.

But that’s exactly what 90s alt-rock darlings Belly is attempting to do, and judging from their just-released first single since 1995, this promises to be one of the more remarkable Rock comebacks we’ve seen in a while.

Boston-based Belly first bounced onto the scene in 1993, fronted charismatically by Tanya Donelly, who was previously one of the original Breeders (with Kim Deal of the Pixies). She chose the name Belly for the band because she said it was a word that was both pretty and ugly, which was such a Nineties thing to say. Led by grunge, Rock was rejecting the synthesized sterility of 80s music and embracing a more organic and human approach.

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Belly did its part with some wholesome pop that would probably qualify as country music today, or with slightly more challenging material that featured some pretty freaky magic realism in its lyrics. But all of Belly’s material was distinguished by Donelly’s fine sense of songcraft and her great set of pipes, plus great backing vocals and solid playing from bandmates Tom Gorman, Chris Gorman and Gail Greenwood. Unfortunately Donelly couldn’t hold it all together after the band released its second album in 1995, and they split up.

In 2016 they decided to reunite for a series of shows in the U.K., where their music was always better received than it was at home. Donelly had in fact raised a daughter and embarked on various solo projects in the intervening years, but the timing happened to be just right for all four members. And now, after a crowdfunding drive the band is preparing to release a new album, to be called Dove, on April 6.

The first single “Shiny One” is really excellent, give it a listen. It is a relentless, shimmering piece of power pop, fabulous vocals and lyrics and some great guitar work. I think it’s better than anything they’ve ever done. Maybe the lesson is we should all take a 23-year break at some point in our lives.

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