As Seen Through Windows


Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The second helping from Montreal's Bell Orchestre holds true to the Canadian instrumentalists' penchant for melodic/atonal slabs of cinematic chamber rock, but this time around they've reigned in the jerky, less-developed aspects of their work, allowing for a smooth, though still volatile blend of post-punk, classical crossover, and straight-up experimental rock.
  2. The album is post-rock at its best, a monumentous achievement even by the group’s standards.
  3. It sounds more coherent than episodic, placeless, and with a definite emphasis on the rock aspects that, on "Recording a Tape," were used sparingly.
  4. As Seen Through Windows is both a progression and an evolution from the band's previous work, and it would be criminal to overlook them this time.
  5. Mojo
    Produced by Tortoise's John McEntire on this, their second outing, BO channel such solitary American composers as Harry Partch and Charles Ives, rattling from distorted second line jazz to mournful Moondog horn stomps and sweet chamber melancholy, creating a claustrophobic city suite that taps into a whole other area of American vernacular music. [Dec 2009, p. 96]
  6. The three years that have passed since the band's debut has left Bell Orchestre a far more confident act than the one that once served as the house band for a Montreal dance ensemble, one that simultaneously expands and tightens its focus with an album that ultimately inhabits its own place on the pop-music spectrum.
  7. Windows extends the filmic dynamism and orchestral spark that carried "Recording a Tape," but instead of remaining in the background, the narrative--impressionistic and imperfect--comes to a often-unpredictable present.
  8. As Seen Through Windows will likely continue to solidify Bell Orchestre’s reputation for making interesting and occasionally challenging instrumental music that not enough people have heard.
  9. Bell Orchestre’s second album is an imaginary soundtrack with a gauzy overlay and a gentle fussiness that pervades everything. If this music has a color, it’s periwinkle.

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