Belson - It's Only Business
Record Label: Self-Released
Release Date: November 4, 2008
The surplus of bands in this music scene has had some rather dire consequences on young bands being able to express themselves as original pieces. Seemingly copycat vocal styles and lackluster arrangements sap the potential and any sort of listening value and lead to the creation of these cookie cutter bands that are cluttered at the feet of much more accomplished bands. A good question to ask of these bands would be: "Instead of actually taking influence correctly and not re-hashing the style again and again, why not take the influence and do something with it?"
Lucky for us, Belson from North Carolina are well versed in doing just that.
Jon Murray's vocals instantly spring out in poppy opening track "The Miens of an End," as his voice is carried out in a style similar to vocal wonder Stephen Christian, with just enough of his own style to remind listeners of good times spent with Never Take Friendship Personal a few years back. Coupled with sing-along lyrics that ring in your head hours after listening make the first impression a bright one.
Belson is no one trick pony however, so don't let the synth-infested opening to "Carriage Return" allow you to write It's Only Business off as simple party music. The song is covered from head to toe with slick guitar riffs, spread in smooth vocals, and packaged with a wholesome solo that gives the song an unexpected refine.
While "It's Hard to Find a Switch in the Dark" drags the pacing of the album down with a ballad feel to it that simply bores compared to the energy show thus far. "Straying From the Stranded" picks up where the momentum dropped off with a chorus that surges with anthem-like power that is only beaten by the message that the lyrics send, " You've breached our communications / this isn't small talk / it's espionage / it's how we say goodbye."
"Here's To Your Health" is a moody song that blends synth sounds into the chorus to make a heavy atmosphere that rids any pop associations this band has with this song, while "Say-Try" showcases Belson's talent for vocal hooks, hearty guitars, and synth sprinkles to make for a diverse enough sound to keep the listener's attention. The song's deafening guitars in the first few seconds are enough to keep anyone hooked for a listen or five.
The track "Longevity of Longitude" gravitates the album to a nice finish, complete with some mighty fine drumming that manages to compensate for how lyrically repetitive the song becomes with repeated shouts of "Don't try to stop it," during an already lackluster chorus that quickly becomes annoying and makes for a disappointing finish that doesn't quite live up to the album's potential already shown in earlier tracks.
Despite Belson's small disappointments poking through here and there, this is a band that deserves a few minutes of your time. Sure there are moments where the synth effects seem unnecessary and several where the lyrics just seem to lack true creativity, but Belson manages to keep the attention of potential listeners with their energetic guitars and Murray's satisfying vocals. I know when it comes to the music industry, It's Only Business, but Belson has shown us there's nothing wrong with mixing business with pleasure with this release.