I love indie folk pop. It’s usually one of my favorite genres. And I tried to really hard to like The Belle Sounds’ Black Stone EP, but alas, I could not.
Was it the Texas trio’s peacenik lyrics about being a “December child” or “the smell of summer” that grated on my nerves so much? Was it the pretentious spelling of their name on the EP’s cover that irked me so? Or was it the audacity of the band to discuss themselves in the same sentence as Fleetwood Mac and The Shins—two of my favorite bands—on their Facebook page that simply put me off? Maybe it was a combination of all three factors, and more, particularly the fact that The Belle Sounds are country at their core, but dodging the stereotype by emulating Fleetwood Mac.
To their credit, at some points, they do this with moderate success. “Golden Boy” has a beat and bassline that reminded me vaguely of a Fleetwood Mac hit. Yet even at that, they sound like Lady Antebellum covering a Fleetwood Mac hit. The Belle Sounds can masquerade as indie folk pop all they want, but they will never fully shake off their innate country vibe. “Ghost Of Mykonos” is even about a dead bridegroom—if that’s not country, I don’t know what is (see: Carrie Underwood’s “Just A Dream”).
Though I am not a fan of The Belle Sounds, I admit that there is an audience for the material they’re putting out. Somebody who enjoys listening to country and indie equally might love this band. However, I know they are not for me, and I still feel disappointed and semi-betrayed by The Belle Sounds and their desperate attempt to insert themselves into a genre they clearly are not at heart.