Candidate for Summer Jam of 2013: Wild Belle

A review of Wild Belle’s Isles, an early frontrunner for Summer Jam of the Year (complete album category)

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Photo by Jennifer Tzar

I’ve mentioned Wild Belle before- here on this website, at work, at a one year old’s birthday party. I’ve pretty much mentioned Wild Belle to anyone who will listen since I first heard their song “Keep You” on WXPN in Philly. I maintain my initial feeling- Wild Belle is a more vanilla, less hip hop version of Santigold. That’s a compliment. A good one.

Wild Belle, a brother & sister duo from Chicago, have their debut album, Isles, coming out March 12th on Trojan Records. WXPN have had the album streaming on their website– because you know, WXPN is just awesome like that. How does the rest of the album compare to that first track, “Keep You?” Pretty damn well.

There is a care free & simplistic nature to Wild Belle. It’s minimalist, but in the best possible way. It’s not wistful, indie rock simple- which makes me happy. Wild Belle found some grooves they liked, ran with it and boom, Isles. If it could always be that simple. Natalie Bergman’s voice is hypnotic and lurks in the air like a warm summer breeze- never over-bearing and frequently perfect. She has tinge of doo-wop in her voice. It’s not polished. Her voice has a slight attitude to it. It’s spot on; a care free spin on the Amy Winehouse style.

Meanwhile, her brother, Eliot, handles the majority of keyboard duties, in addition to sax work. Kudos to you, sir. I imagine him wrestling with himself, wondering what would be the best music to put behind his sister’s ethereal voice. The choice of mellow dance hall is perfect. It’s locked in at a good cruising speed and the road ahead is wide open. The sun is out. Good times all around.

With summer on the horizon, Isles is lined up to be some perfect beach-lounging, deck-chilling, hammock-swinging music. Perfect. There is still time and something better may come along. But right now? Wild Belle is in the lead. Sure, they might be challenged by someone like Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake or someone we don’t even know yet. But as of now, they’re in the lead.

You can listen to Isles here.

Band photo by Jennifer Tzar

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