Belle Histoire


Written by: TL on 17/11/2012 18:05:58

Not too long ago I reviewed "I Can Tell EP" by up and coming Cincinatti indie-pop quartet Belle Histoire, noting that their debut LP was not far away, and now that very same LP, "Dreamer", has been out for a few months, waiting for me to get around to reviewing it as well. Being released only a handful of months apart, it's no surprise that "I Can Tell" and "Dreamer" cast the band as one whose sound hasn't had time to change a great much. Hence Belle Histoire still sound a lot like acts like The Narrative or even Taylor Swift, with the intention seemingly being to take their girl-fronted pop-rock and imbue it with a bit more depth and mellowness.

It worked out well on "I Can Tell". Partly because essentials such as good production and delicate singing is in place - the latter courtesy of frontwoman Suzie Zeldin who sounds sort of like a mix of Kate Nash and Taylor Jardine - and partly because they'd come up with at least a couple of catchy songs to that I can remember with relative ease, even despite not really having heard "I Can Tell" much since writing its review. So, being similar in sound, the former two qualities do indeed reappear on "Dreamer", which has a crisp, professional sound centered squarely on Zeldin's fine singing voice.

The problem is that I can't for the life of me find the catchyness you would expect Belle Histoire to have fused into their first full length effort. On early listens, I come all the way to track 10 of 11, "My Dear", before I have my attention summoned by the quick-tongued verse, and otherwise, the rest of the album seems to float on without really capitalising on the quality sound the Belle Histoire have going for them. Fortunately however, after a little while some of the mellower numbers like "Without You" and "Keep Your Heart" begin to stand out, mainly courtesy of Zeldin working her magic in the refrains.

Still though, I can't help but to feel a little disappointed. Belle Histoire seemed so perfectly poised for success on "I Can Tell EP", especially because they did demonstrate a knack for catchy melody, yet somehow the prolonged experience of "Dreamer" has ended up sounding a little samey and generic. I wonder if the pressure of stepping up to the LP game has made the band play it safe? Whether this is the case or not, I'm afraid "Dreamer" is not going to be the instant hit one could've hoped it would be, and I think that the band needs to take just a few more chances the next time around, if they want to really make an impact.

Download: The Narrative, Taylor Swift,
For The Fans Of: Keep Your Heart, Without You, My Dear

Release Date 17.07.2012
InVogue Records

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