The Belle Game // Imperial

Feb 24, 2018 - For Beatroute BC.  Review by Jamilia Pomeroy.

There was nothing but good, happy, and warm vibes at The Imperial on Friday, despite the blanket of snow outside. The Belle Game brought an uplifting and expansive soundscape, alongside their messages of empowerment. While their new album “Fear/Nothing” swoops towards a more true, ethereal, crush-pop sound, there is no lack in soul or rock qualities that make you want to dance. Powerhouse and lead singer, Andrea Lo, killed it with her sultry voice; coming out in a long patterned kimono style robe, and shirt sporting the words “free yourself”. This, seemed to be the general theme of the evening. With a sincere hope their music would positively impact the crowd, Lo, continuously checked in, ensuring they were surrounded in that positivity. The general care for their fans, and their experience, is something you don’t see often.

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Opening with “River”, off of their debut LP, “Ritual Tradition Habit”, fans were quickly immersed in dream-like liquid sound. Shimmering keys, echoing spacey guitars, and drums played simultaneously with a drum machine. This hybrid of Synth pop, dream pop, and indie rock, kept fans dancing and swaying throughout the entire performance. Lo, breathed notes effortlessly, singing in an unbelievably large range, while a dreamy array of textures were laid out by Katrina Jones (keys), and Adam Nanji (guitar). The continual toss between standard drums and electronic drums, played by Alex Andrew, added rhythmic variance to their unique sound.

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Half way through the set, the band plays “Bring Me”, off of their new album “Fear/Nothing”. The songs explicit lyrics lend to a sort of raw passion, similarly to the general vibe of the album. Lo introduces the song as taking the energy to a darker mood, but this could have also been taken again, from a point of empowerment, with themes of sexuality. Fear/Nothing, takes the sound in a more electronic direction, with a greater focus on electronic drums and atmospheric layers. Keys resembling bands like Chairlift and Beach house, layered with dance and indie rock qualities: extremely reflective to the bands and music scene of their Vancouver and Montreal routes. With lyrics thematically tied closely to too the trivial, and grand hardships of this current era, Fear/Nothing, truly bridges the gap in hipness and innovation; brought forth in a fearless and unapologetic manner.

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Nearing the end of the set, the band plays “Spirit”, broadcasting an unbelievably large vocal arrangement. Layers of cascading harmonies, only preaching to the choir of incredibly pleased fans. Lo, again checking in with crowd, holding their connection with fans to the same height as their musical performance. There is something pretty beautiful with the bands ability to take topics and feelings that could be taken as hard and tough, and transfer them sonically in such a delicate way. This delicacy, sits on par with the overall care put into all components of their work, spilling into their audience connectivity; a delicacy and awareness of the power they possess sonically, their ability to effect listeners. The effort to free the minds of fans, creating a sense of elevation through intention, was well received; almost as if the manifestation of positivity breeds in positive intention, and the will to cultivate it. The Belle Game, an undeniable outlet to feel and free yourself.