The Raving Beauties are the brain child of Brian Bell, who has joined up with another adopted Brightonian Gordon Graeme (Lucky Jim, Lost Soul Band) to create a sublime collection of songs which draw their influence from the 1960s West Coast sounds of Gene Clark era Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and jangle-pop followers such as Big Star and Teenage Fanclub.
Brian is a pulp fiction writer (he authored the Brighton-set novel ‘Die Hard Mod’ under the pseudonym Charlie McQuaker) and these songs started out as an imagined band in one of his short stories. He thought the band in the story ought to have a life, so set about writing an EP and asked Gordon Graeme to play on it. The four songs they came up with were so good they convinced local label At The Helm to commit to release an album just as soon as they managed to produce one. What began as a fictional band became a proper partnership, with Graeme contributing songs as well as his prodigious musical talent, and this excellent eponymous album is the result.
Opener ‘Arrows’ sets the tone with a classic jangling warm positivity that will stick in your head – “take your arrow, string your bow, make a wish and let it go… we could be happy if we dare” they sing. Another particular favourite is the organ-led ‘All We’ve Got Is Now’ which sounds like a lost classic from the Pebbles era. The range on the album is impressive, with the gorgeous ballad ‘I want to know it now’ or mellow spiritual ‘It Will Pass’ or the sunshine-pop of ‘Oh Lover’ – a song previewed in a video a couple of years ago – which kicks off with the downbeat “When I was young I lost my way, didn’t think I’d be here today…” and then rises with chiming guitars and harmonies which drive what is another upbeat and delightful song.
This is another great local release, and will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates classic 60s guitar-based song-writing and those who love good music in all its forms. You can hear the track ‘Some Girls’ below, and pre-order the album here.
The Raving Beauties’ album is released by At The Helm Records on Friday 21st Aug.