As a duo in life as well as within music, Noëlle Hampton and André Moran are a pair that click in their latest endeavor, The Belle Sounds. Noëlle is the primary vocalist and songwriter, with André as the lead guitarist. Their self-titled work begins with a country and pop-inspired tune called “Bourbon On Your Lips.” This song hops along with an upbeat pace, delicate guitars, and feminine soprano vocals. Hampton seems to be attempting to croon her way out of an argument lyrically on this track as a foundation of a melodic piano part solidifies the song. This group displays the palpable roots of their sound sprouting from genres like indie rock, folk, and country.
The strumming of the guitar moves in a leisurely manner on the fifth cut, “Starry Eyed,” where the tone and singing become subdued, resulting in a lullaby-like piece. On “Rockingham Lane,” the band pays homage to the folk artists of times past with this throwback-style song. It has a down-home, Southern vibe with simplistic lyrics and a melancholy melodic lead line. The Belle Sounds have certainly fleshed out a niche for themselves with their sound. A simple riff takes the helm of the indie rock-influenced number, “Island,” an undeniable love song, fitting easily with the content of the rest of the album whose main focus appears to be the subject.
“Just Like Gold” is the biggest deviation of a song that this pair makes from the whole of their sound. The track has a slight Latin beat, the vocalist projects her voice, and there aren’t any country-based tones, making this the best and first unexpected moment on the record. The Belle Sounds seem to have a very articular comfort zone to which they cling. It is a form that they do not waver from on this CD, which is both a positive and a negative.
In A Word: Standard