Beady Belle Belvedere

Beady Belle Belvedere
It can be an exciting experience watching artists you truly enjoy and respect develop through the years, especially when that artist bubbles below the radar, away from the accelerating pressure of mass media attention. For the past eight years, stalwart Norwegian trio Beady Belle have been slowly stripping away and refining their sonic elements to produce what has developed into a delicate and sumptuously nuanced blend of jazz, soul and downbeat vibes, with varied electronic elements added to flavour their tightly crafted recordings. Belvedere, the group’s fourth disc, continues down this path by substituting and compacting even more ingredients, this time swapping out the already reduced electronic rhythms for far more reserved backbeats while adding a prevailing rootsy feel via the infusion of twangy slide guitars, banjo and mandolins. Subsequently, the record certainly leans in a different direction than previous servings, though singer Beate S. Lech’s sweet vocals remain the focus. Tunes like "Tower of Lament” and "Boiling Milk” shine on the strength of Lech’s thick vocal harmonies with fellow Norwegian soul man Jarle Bernhoft, while the singer tackles a smooth R&B groove with India.Arie in tow on "Self-Fulfilling.” The Americana twang may throw some fans for a loop but the experiment is just another positive example of a group looking to grow and expand.

What sparked the musical change in direction for this record?
Lech: It felt very natural to make a little change this time. It’s our fourth album and there just appeared a need of doing something different. Actually, it could have something to do with me being pregnant while composing the songs. My life was turned upside down and somehow I got this need of going back to basics. I also got some kind of country music hang-up during my pregnancy and this could have influenced my writing a bit. The actual recording process for this album shaped the sound of it [as well]. The whole band were placed in one big recording room; we counted to four and recorded the album in ten days.

Are you surprised your music has reached so many people around the world?
Yes, I’m surprised and humble. Beady Belle are a small band from a small record company with very little money. Often it’s the amount of money being put into a project that decides the success, and I’m perhaps naive but I believe it has something to do with quality, and I think there are enough people around the world that enjoy good music. That’s why we have been able to travel so much. Of course with the big money, we could perhaps have been super-famous millionaires, but that’s not the point or the goal, I think. The point is to have a good life, [and] this is the life I love and I want it to continue this way. (Jazzland)