Belle Humble – lilting, summery pop music

A friend of mine recommended I check out Belle Humble, a young, female songstress based out of the dark streets of Holloway, one of East London’s less celebrated but more genuine neighbourhoods.  Belle’s already been picked up by phone company Orange for some promotional gigs, and seems set to get some consistent critical recognition sometime soon.  So over to her MySpace page did I hop…

Belle offers a kooky pop sound, and ticks plenty of boxes: she’s pretty as a pirate rather than blandly beautiful, she has a porcelain-pure voice (various guest-singing slots prove as much), and she writes gentle ditties that allow it to pleasantly lilt around.  Her melodies are decidedly summery and, the lyrics tell cosy tales of giddy young romance and rapidly evolving self-knowledge. 

All very well, but lots of female singers satisfy those same criteria.   This is a super-saturated market that Belle’s trying to plunder, after all.  Luckily though, she does a few things differently.  For one thing, she fills her songs with eclectic instrumental arrangements, with cameos from ukeleles, violins and tinkling percussion tools, plus a spree of samples and seemingly ad-libbed layered vocal chants and grunts (one song’s even called Hey, Hey, Hey).  Seeing Belle live must be quite the experience; she says she plays with “a bit of a jamboree collective”. Everyone loves a jamboree collective.

In short, Belle seems a bit eclectic and blithe.  I suspect she’s the kind of girl who obsessive decorated and glammed-up her school rucksack as a child, who writes ideas or snippets of songs on thousand of slips of paper, who trawls charity shops for vintagewear, who has glow-in-the-dark stars on bedroom ceiling, and who rarely stays still. What’s nice too about her pop is that it is blatantly free of the slick, production sheen signed artists suffer.  The songs perhaps go on a bit too long; one, Funfair, is much more brass-based and soulful than the rest on MySpace; sometimes the addition of a particular instrument seems more for the sake of it, than to naturally enhance the tune.  But all of this rather adds to her minstrel-like charm.

Will all this be enough to inch in on the fame of Florence, Bat for, Marina and the rest?  I’m not so sure; especially as, if Belle does get signed, a lot of these charming quirks and oddities may well be ironed out. What’s definitely true is that she’s a precocious talent, and one well worth checking out if lilting, summery pop music’s your cup of tea. 

Belle Humble on MySpace

MP3s to hopefully follow.


~ by ripamel on 19/07/2009.

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