Tag Archives: Bellows

Bellows’ “Fist & Palm” Isn’t A Break-Up Record

Oliver Kalb (on the left) and Gabrielle Smith (from Eskimeaux). Photo by Richard Gin.

Fist & Palm, Bellows’ third album, chronicles the emotional complexities of a strained friendship at a crossroads. While some musicians may find traditional “break-up” records liberating, Brooklyn’s Oliver Kalb fosters a dialogue where heartache is examined from both perspectives, determining the steps required to find a resolution, or bracing yourself for the inevitable collapse of your relationship. With the help of hip-hop producer Jamie Wilcox, Kalb is able to tap into bouncy, whimsical drum loops and soft-focused chord progressions, honing a more solid pop structure within the evocative folk-rock balladry he’s known for. Each song is deeply personal, with piercing lyrical arrangements that tap into the tumultuous push and pull between hatred and joy in a dying relationship. This makes Kalb’s newfound pop sensibilities on Fist & Palm even more intriguing; they manage to uplift in the midst of the album’s saddest moments, striking a perfect balance between what he describes as “brutal hopelessness and the feeling of grasping for joy and transcendence at the same time.”

We spoke to Oliver Kalb more in-depth about making the album, dealing with depression, and his relationship to pop music.

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