Synth-pop quintet The Belle Sounds have been called “one of the best pop bands in Austin” (Austin American Statesman), “Best New Band” (Austin Chronicle) and have their own day named after them in their hometown, but the band and its husband/wife core of Noëlle Hampton and André Moran have never been content to rest on their laurels. 2020 had them releasing one song per month, and making good use of the grant awarded to them by the local non-profit Black Fret by creating videos and new content. Additionally, their new releases garnered them a coveted spot on The Austin American Statesman’s Best of 2020 list, a KUTX Song Of The Day, and a song land in the hit Netflix Show, Outer Banks.
As the new year arrived, the couple was creatively exhausted after working in the studio nonstop during the worst of the pandemic. Hampton was lonely for her friends, depressed from the negative physical and emotional changes, and ready to see things change for the positive. As she began to produce the new tracks, following the rhythms and synths that lead to the stories, she realized she was writing about love, in all different forms but all linked by our human nature and connection, something that had been vastly missing for all of us in 2020. From first crushes to Princess Diana’s tragic relationship to personal songs about Hampton and Moran’s relationship, to our need to come together and choose love and kindness again after such a divisive time, it really was all about love.
The sound of the EP is rich with ’80s influence mixed with modern touches, with shimmering synths, lush guitars, and rich with vocal harmonies from Noëlle and long-time band member Emily Shirley. They kept the studio musician circle relatively small because of the ongoing pandemic, bringing in Shirley for harmony vocals and bass player Greg Hagen. They also had Danny Reisch (Shearwater/Other Lives and producer at Good Danny’s) add drums and programming on “Crush,” Evan Hutchings (longtime session drummer for the band) on “The Bloodline” and Daniel Creamer (Shakey Graves/The Texas Gentleman) on additional synths for “All About Love.”
Tomorrow, August 20, 2021, The Belle Sounds will release their new EP, All About Love. Ghettoblaster is fortunate to have an early preview of this masterful effort, which harkens to the golden era of synth-pop. Hampton had this to say about the endeavor:
“I’m having much more fun creating music these days and I think the audience is going to feel that. This is the music I was always meant to create, and continuing to do this with my favorite person, André and our incredible band makes it even more special.”
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Photo by Emily Shirley