Telemetry, the third record by Long Beach power trio Bella Novela, is a three-part concept record that clocks in at exactly 33 minutes, with each part having three songs.
"Spooky," says guitarist Jacob Heath, the band's auburn-bearded prog-rocker with a Randy Rhoads tone. "Something powerful about the number three." If you hang out around Long Beach, chances are you've seen Bella Novela at least three times in the past three years; Heath, vocalist Jackie Laws, and drummer Jannea McClure have been ubiquitous fixtures on the club scene, rocking Alex's Bar, The Prospector, Que Sera, the Zombie Walk, and everywhere else on a regular basis.
Lately they've become friendly with Fartbarf and fellow locals Feral Kizzy, sharing bills on club dates. "They are doing something we don't see around here right now," says Kizzy Kirk, Feral Kizzy's sparkplug vocalist. "Jacob is a bearded intergalactic shredder; Jackie is a powerhouse glitter blaster."
The sound is pure classic rock–think if Gwen Stefani fronted Blue Oyster Cult. Stuff that Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar would dig. They toe the line of being too technical to be cool, but who gives a fuck about being cool when you can play like that?
"We've gotten Pat Benatar meets Iron Maiden; Heart meets Thin Lizzy; insert random female-pop-singer meets old-guy-rock-band," Heath says. These types of comparisons don't bother them, even if they short the band when it comes to their compositional ambition. Bella Novela based Telemetry (due out Nov. 25) on the '80s Mexican soap Cuna de Lobos. "It's all about seduction, betrayal, revenge, and all of that juicy stuff you find in a good melodrama," Heath says, pointing out the concept pays tribute to the band's name.
Telemetry feels like a breather compared to their last record, The Archeress, which Heath describes as a concept album about the last woman on earth's struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic world, told from the perspectives of multiple characters. Back when it came out in 2011, Weekly writer Brandon Ferguson could only say "our words will fail us… just let it be said it is fucking ambitious."
As for their own take on their heady compositional approach: "We try to keep it in a place where it serves the song," Heath says. "Sometimes we butt heads with studio engineers when we're layering all these parts, but really we know where we're going with it and only do as much as we think we can pull off live. Then the hard part is figuring out how to do that."
Bella Novela filmed the video for Telemetry's eponymous single at Alex's Bar–they showed us a sneak preview, but the band's meddling publicist talked them out of sharing it with readers before its proper official release. Apparently there are some big plans. We got the OK to share the audio though–and it's pretty awesome; you will find it streaming below. It's no mistake their sound has started to gravitate towards Rush, sans the in-your-face bass guitar, which Heath says never in the cards for Bella Novela in terms of personnel. "We've actually tried adding a fourth member before, but it's never really worked out," he says.
Indeed. It is never a wise move to fight the power of three.
Bella Novella performs at their album release party on Friday at the Prospector with Fartbarf, Barrio Tiger and Rats in the Louvre. For more details, click here.