Bellstop are actually Rúnar Sigurbjörnsson and Elín Ólafsdóttir. I have to say that I approached their album with some trepidation. The main reason for this? The awful artwork. The website and album cover suggests a sub-standard video game. Poor name, awful artwork; I was on a downer from the start. You could argue that I’m not reviewing those components here, and that I should stick to the music. I disagree. It’s a whole package.
I was pleasantly surprised, then, with the music itself. The duo call themselves ‘Folk & Roll,’ and that is a fair description. Based around acoustic guitars, played in a traditional folk manner, Elín and Rúnar sing in English in that canyon where folk and Americana intertwine.
Karma starts with ‘Trouble,’ which is essentially folk with a twist of Kate Bush, whilst ‘Theme War’ is sounds like an unheard Of Monsters and Men track. Karma tends to run out of steam save for ‘Run,’ and ‘God Given Right’ is just cringe-worthy. ‘Serenity’ is a redeeming end to proceedings.
On their website, Bellstop talk about playing concerts to a range of audiences including a Chinese shampoo commercial. I’d suggest that a Bellstop concert is much, much better than the recorded version. I wouldn’t write Bellstop off just yet.
Original review on Iceland Review Online.