I Can Hear the Belles
With the exception of recent indie breakthroughs Warpaint, girl groups haven’t come been in the spotlight since…The Donnas? Even so, producer and former Stripe Jack White managed to get his meddlin’ hands on quite the unique group of ladies: The Black Belles. Sportin’ a dark, garage-y vibe with Marnie Stern-like vocals, the Belles are quite the find. Their latest self-titled release is just ball of energy the recent Spector-style pop genre needs.
“Leave You With a Letter“ opens the album as sort of an anti-Best Coast or -Cults. Instead of being mixed low, these girls’ vocals are up front, direct and not hidden by fancy reverb. It makes for some genuine, fun rock n’ roll. White taught them well. “Honky-Tonk” and “The Wrong Door” are straight out of ’60s b-movie. “Howl At the Moon” is a summery pop track – upstroked guitars n’ all. It would fit right into the Girls of the Garage compilations that have been spilling onto the internet in recent blog years.The Black Belles harken back to dirtier garage like The Fuzztones or pretty much anything Rudi Protrudi touched. The only thing that would round the sound out is maybe a proficient organist. Otherwise, they sound like the White Stripes’ little sisters. At least this time, we’ll know who’s related to who.
With the right push by White and his fans, these girls are a force to be reckoned with. Chillwave, surf-pop and lo-fi aside, the garage genre is in need of a revival after The Hives and The Strokes have slowed in momentum – even after monster releases. The Black Belles, via The Black Belles, may just be up to the task.