When I first heard Belly, I was intrigued by the coo-ing vocals, ethereal melodies and lyrics and the moniker. I picked up Star, their first disc, and found it to be a nice diversion, but soon got tired of the cloying lyrics and acoustic / electric dynamic that never really felt complete.
The songs on Star felt like demos and unfinished songs at best, except for their big hit / Grammy-nominated track, "Feed The Tree", which was a masterful work of existential-themed bouncy pop. The Belly songs and image melded well at the late 90's time of "girl-alterna-pop" days. But alas, I moved on to bigger things (or so I thought).
On a whim, I picked up their sophomore and last LP ever released as Belly -- the colorful, creative and HIGHLY recommended King. I still to this day do not know why this album never really caught the attention of critics and masses. What's not to love? Same-but-different lyrical themes of love, loss, existence and experience, catchy / deeply melodic lines with expert guitar work by Donnelly (the band-leader) and co., and graceful, yet complete song works. This album tops Star in every way! (and contains no real filler tracks or noisy interludes, except for one weaker track, Now They'll Sleep!!)
I still listen to this album in awe for its audacity and creative edge that still feels fresh. Whether you listen for guitar work, lyrics, melody, or originality, this album proudly displays it all and should be part of your collection if you love excellent pop-songwriting and craftmanship.
Shamefully undersold and underappreciated.
You will not be sorry.
Even T. Donnelly's solo LPs don't top this disc...