Service Bells, “Metropolis”

Sjimon Gompers

Sydney Service Bells, at your service. (photo courtesy of Kate Farquharson)

Service Bells strikes the ringers, formed from the dissolution of Cameras by Fraser Harvey with a little help from his friends Ben, Bill and Mike. Giving us one of the first listens to their new single “Metropolis”, the group goes on the offensive against the box topped product machineries of the music industry as commodity with the brooding claustrophobic sound of seedy cityscapes.

Fraser turns the page of new beginnings in the opening of statement of, “this time we'll do it right”. The guitars maneuver like dense and disgruntled city street driving commuters, as Service Bells act like indie rock city planners where chords are arranged like building zoning, with the concerns over the constituents involved in composition are acted out like urban construction. There is a meta element of looking at the road ahead while sorting out the past as a way to move forward into the cities and sounds of the future. “We had some records, and some numbers, so we should give it a try, I wouldn't take it, but I can leave it, how will this look in the light?” Discovery becomes the focal quest, where they slam down the industrious ennui of “sign under the line then we're out of here”, and the talent and time consuming investments of dreams, “take all of your time”. Listen and discover the signs, and discover the sights of new municipalities that shine through the gloom.

Service Bells' Fraser Harvey shared some stories with us, taking us inside and outside the city limits of their new single, “Metropolis”.

How did you all first meet, and realized that Service Bells was a cohesive group?

Mike and I both played in Cameras before this, and Ben had joined us on bass for our last tour as well. Bill had mixed us when we played live a bunch of times, so it was easy then to just start playing together – 'Metropolis' was recorded not long after we'd begun.

Now the name, was it thought out of some kind of Pavlovian response theorem, or like the bell you would ring at a concierge or bellhop's desk for say, service?

We're told Ben keeps one by his bedside.

Now your big dystopian pop single, “Metropolis”. Are you all referencing Sydney, AU here, or is there another metropolitan city you all had in mind?

Sydney seems a bit too bright (maybe not right now though), and also not what you'd call a metropolis exactly – its more sprawling, so maybe somewhere with a bit more gloom.

Did the Fritz Lang classic Metropolis inform this single in anyway?

It didn't but that would be a good premise. I'd been reading a lot about people that live on the fringes of the scummy underworld, hit men and people like that – I think that informed the tone a bit.

Most exciting things happening in Sydney these days?

I'm told there's plenty to see and do. We're coming into summer over here – so probably just pretending I'm more comfortable than I am with my weather inappropriate clothing choices. And drinks in hollowed out pineapples. Lots of them.

Next move for Service Bells? Winter/2014 plans?

We're writing some more songs for an EP early next year, then I think we're going to the UK in May and the US a little while after that, hopefully we're quite busy.

Service Bell's “Metropolis” single b/w “Prospector's Waltz” is available now from MANIMAL / Frenchkiss Label Group.

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