The Howling Bells hark back to a time when bands wore black embellished with lace accessories. Sound-wise too, there are similarities to be drawn with All About Eve for this is a commercially viable gothic folk/rock concoction which has made it a surprising favourite amongst critics and music buyers alike. Much of it is down to the solid hook-filled songwriting. 'Wishing Stone', 'Low Happening' and 'Blessed Night' all work a treat as they are propelled by the band's strongest riffs and of course their main focal point (both in a musical and visual sense), vocalist Juanita Stein, owner not so much of a wounded sparrow vocal but one which suggests she is being mauled by a cat. On the less memorable material on this debut, Stein appears to be a belle who howls a bit too much but on the passionate 'The Night Is Young' and the dreamily romantic 'Setting Sun' she redeems herself with a couple of stunning performances. A surprise hit it may be but how the Howling Bells develop on their next outing should be the key to their longevity.