August 20, 2015

Church of Betty: Swirled World

photo: Jasmine Hirst

Over the years progressive world chamber rock ensemble Church of Betty have carved niche for themselves in the New York underground. Fronted by singer and sitar player Chris Rael they mix Indian rhythms with Western pop. Like George Harrison, but with a firmer grasp of the instruments of the Far East. As a recording act they have been lying low for over a decade. The new album Swirled World is a return to form, with a fresh line-up to boot.

While lots of Western world musicians try really hard to sound as authentic as native musicians, Church of Betty uses it as launchpad for accessible pop songs peppered with adventurous rhythms and radio-friendly hooks. Music is first and for all entertainment and Rael, through this work on documentary soundtracks and the like, has developed a knack for composing a catchy tunes with rather sad lyrics. The inherent discrepancy of upbeat music telling serious stories is a surefire guarantee for captivating listening.

Church of Betty will sit comfortably next to fellow New York based bands Ethan Lipton + his Orchestra and Spottiswoode & His Enemies, sharing a love for jazz-tinged pop, with Rael's impressive sitar skills serving as the Indian cousin of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Church of Betty:
Chris Rael: vocals, 12-string guitar, bass, sitar, autoharp
Isabel Castellvi: cello
Chris Cochrane: guitar
Claire de Brunner: bassoon
Rima Fand: violin
Brian Geltner: drums
Pinky Weitzman: viola
Otto Hauser: percussion
Marlon Cherry: vocals, percussion
Vlada Tomova: vocals

Swirled World is released on Fang Records. Buy it from CDBaby or Bandcamp.

  1. Wake Up
  2. Ever Deeper
  3. I Remember You
  4. Beautiful Vessel
  5. I Don't Sing
  6. Endure
  7. Swirled World
  8. Brooklyn Soul
  9. Muse
  10. Paella

Live dates:
  • 09/12 Brooklyn, NY @ The Living Room (w/ Pugwash)
  • 10/03 Brooklyn, NY @ The Living Room (w/ The Negro Problem)


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