To talk about a new group when we’re talking about a group formed by Christopher Tait (among many other things, keyboardist of ELECTRIC SIX) and Jesse Smith, daughter of the famous Patti Smith, fruit of her marriage to Fred “Sonic” Smith, the guitarist of MC5, is to say not nearly enough. But the best is that using those names as reference is nothing more than an exercise in contextualization, a way of informing the alert reader that we’re talking about people with a deep and wide knowledge of music. Because starting now, when it comes to talking in strictly musical terms, we can say that what we find here is, happily, a surprise.
Lovers of classic pop, tired of the modern world, and influenced by Scott Joplin, THE ZOMBIES, Fred Neil, FLEETWOOD MAC, and THE MODERN LOVERS, BELLE GHOUL began as a project between two friends in Detroit and New York who shared musical tastes, ideas, and remnants of songs. When the group began to take shape they asked some of their friends and co-workers to collaborate, and that’s how Matt Van, Zach Shipps, Mike Alonso and Christian Doble helped Chris and Jesse embellish and finish off their splendid songs.
This 7” debut for the North American duo is a marvelous example of elegant and luminous pop, somewhere between THE BOO RADLEYS, THE GO-BETWEENS and the Paul Kelly of “Under The Sun”, with a huge, powerful production, like that hyper-energized beginning, “(Out Of) The Neighborhood”, blown up with marvelous winds that sweep through the whole EP with incredible power. The wonderful instrumentation of “Cue The Apocalypse”, the delicious and spaced-out ambience of “No Time For Cryin’”, and the vivacious, cabaret-styled melody of “Cold Cold Heart” that evokes THE MODERN LOVERS and Lee Hazlewood confirm that we have something big before us, a record that uses music as a means to build a new world, open and optimistic.
BELLE GHOUL"Saturday Knife Fight" Single 7"
“Saturday Knife Fight” opens the limited edition 7” to the rhythm of northern soul, with echoes of Edwyn Collins. The song has a complicated but powerful arrangement structure that feels turbulent, but at the same time tremendously addictive. “Jack The Ripper” uses the metaphor of the well-known serial killer to talk about broken hearts, with a sound that falls somewhere between ambient electronic pop and melancholic indie pop, not too far off from our beloved TREMBLING BLUE STARS. “DSL #12” is solid proof of the project’s complexity: a pop base with new-wave spirit fed by synthesizers with space-age arrangements, all of which comes together perfectly in this tremendously suggestive song, topped off with burning guitars. It’s incredible. “Blownzia/Ripper (Reprise)” is an instrumental that tests the limits of BELLE GHOUL’s universe: between dreaming and cabaret, between Danny Elfman and Kurt Weill, like a story that you could never guess the ending to. And we hope the story never ends.
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