Whether it’s rock, alternative, or even pop, the Bellusira can’t be tied down to one genre, as they explore many on their second album The Healing.
“Dance with Me” with its heavy guitar opening, makes way for the best pure rock song on the entire L.P. Lead singer Crystal Ignite seamlessly goes back and forth between her lower register on the verses to higher register vocals on the chorus. The song, in some ways, even shares some resemblance in melody to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” but with a more in your face punch. “Dance with Me” is the most infectious track to be found on The Healing,each part of the song coming together to form one masterful rock tune.
“Black Seed” tows the line between rock and alternative as Ignite shines, wailing “kinda feels like you really hate me. Black seed in the silver sky.” It’s dark and edgy in all the right ways, and much of that has to do with Ignite’s performance as she plays up both genres. Bellusira are constantly blurring the lines between defined musical categories and it is never done more effortlessly than in “Black Seed.” Later on the album Ignite finds herself in the pop genre on “Pieces.” Much more of a ballad, “Pieces” is the first time a piano is clearly heard and sets up the rest of the song. It definitely still has a rock side, but there is no mistaking the pop radio friendliness of the track. Though some of the lyrics are clichés such as “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” the tune is still a brilliant shining moment on the album and one not soon to be forgotten.
There are some less than stellar tracks to be found on the album, namely “Sever” and “Redemption Queen.” The first is one of the more raw rock songs on The Healing, opening with an explosion of instruments. The problem with this particular track is that the transition between verse and chorus are not executed as well as in other songs. It’s frantic, and it doesn’t quite suit the beauty that Ignite showcases in other parts of the album. “Sever” is not bad by any means, but there are better examples of what Bellusira are capable of on the album. “Redemption Queen” is again aiming for a more hard rock sound, in fact it’s probably the most hardcore song on the LP, and while it is full of throaty vocals and a cacophony of sound, accomplishing what the track sets out to achieve which is a grittier sound, it is overshadowed by far more superior moments on The Healing.
The straight up ballads are where Bellusira find their stride and make listeners sit up and take notice. “Sister” tells the story of someone who was a “soul sister” but now can’t be happy for the other. “Don’t know why you’re jealous of me. Why won’t you see me shine?” Ignite sings delicately. And through the betrayal Ignite still wants her soul sister to stay with her. “Sister” is the most honest and heartfelt track on The Healing, and lends itself quite a bit to the title of the album. As the first true ballad on the LP, it displays Ignite’s fragile and beautiful voice which can clearly handle softer songs as well as more darker tunes. The album’s title track sees Ignite at her most vulnerable with just an acoustic guitar to back her up, and that’s really all she needs as her vocals and lyrics are the real star here. “I know you’ve been so sad but you’re stronger than you know,” she sings quietly and yet at the same time she has never come across as more powerful. It’s an anthem for anyone who is going through a difficult time, as Ignite tells listeners it will be ok, and it’s hard not to believe her. The absolute gem of the album is “Tonight” which marries a Paramore-eque sound with Bellusira’s own brand of music. “I never knew I’d come so far to save you so save me tonight,” Ignite sings all dreamy and ethereal. Her voice sails along lushly like a lullaby and the layering of vocals on the chorus is something out of a beautiful daydream. Amongst the other spectacular ballads on the album, “Tonight” shines like the brightest diamond in the bunch.
The Healing has a little bit of something for everybody, and because of the diversity in genres it makes the album one of the most surprising and interesting releases of the year.