The Black Belles
The Black Belles
Release Date: Nov 08, 11
It’s a good thing that everything Jack White touches doesn’t turn to gold. If it did, at a certain point it would spawn unrealistic expectations that have tainted many an artist/ producer in music history. By introducing the Black Belles, one of the first signs to his Third Man record label, White extends himself behind the scenes, while allowing this all girl garage-goth band to try to hold their own.
As soon as the band’s self-titled record begins, everything that is to be heard on this album has already been heard. This is not completely a bad thing, perhaps only half bad. The bad, in the context of being a Third Man outfit, it’s easy to assume that they’re manufactured to fit the persona of the Jack White world. The songs are catchy, but for a “garage-goth” band, it isn’t dark enough, not grimy. It’s too polished. While the song writing is their own, White produced, and the girls simply don’t pull off the bluesy, hard rocking, that we love White’s projects for. There are a few moments where lead Shelby Lynn expresses some attitude. No question, she and the rest of the band are very talented.
Songs such as “The Wrong Door” and “Honky-Tonk” punch towards being great songs. Though, they really can’t be considered songs of their “garage-goth” genre. At this point, garage-goth is whatever people perceive it to be. And this isn’t it. There just simply anything goth about it, besides Black Belles’ image. None of the songs are boring. But they aren’t really memorable, either. For a debut such as this, it’d been nice if they evoked the same feeling of The Raveonettes Whip It On debut, something that’s fresh, and a little bit scary.
“The Tease” may be the stand out track on The Black Belles. Arguably, it has the most passion. But then it is followed by the very mediocre “Howl at the Moon.” This song almost sounds like it wants to be rockabilly more so than garage-goth. And then “Pushing Up Daises” makes you want to keep listening, with its bouncy, grinding melody. Overall, it’s far from an awful album, but it will take some experience, perhaps some bad experiences, to get Black Belles to be a great band. And who says they have to be great, anyway? They’re fun, but forgettable.