When Del Bel released "In My Solitude" a little over a month ago, they gave us something different. Somehow, the usual choice of adjectives -- eerie, spooky, haunting -- didn't really seem to apply. Moody? Yes, given the theme of isolation and seclusion. And while the song certainly shares the same sparse ambiance with previous compositions, it had a noir-ish allure that felt more sensual than unsettling.
"The Stallion" is a shift away from that lingering pace, but make no mistake, it's far from being one of the band's jazzier swing numbers in the manner of "No Reservation" or "Stirring Bones." Instead, it's a return to the ominous, except minimalism is traded for galloping beats and reverberating drones of alternating notes to convey danger and urgency.
There's a sense of dread, and that dread is most potent in the grim lyrics. This latest single is a murder ballad of sorts, with a sinister introduction: "Our father's fame was massacre / the family trade is murder," sings Lisa Conway in the role of the narrator who proclaims a family history of violence. Between each verse is a bellowing horn section that contributes to the gloom, and effectively so, as the tale of larceny escalates into manslaughter, and finally, the surrender, capture, and unmerciful death sentence of the storyteller and his partners in crime.
"The rope, it rests / The noose, a necklace / soon we'll ride once again / roam the wilds / singing 'oooo,'" concludes the guilty. Parting words that leaves us feeling...well, a little haunted.