Kill Rock Stars
Smart pop music with engaging lyrics is not just the sole property of British bands like Belle & Sebastian and Camera Obscura. Latest proof–Texan duo Tele Novella and their brilliant album Merlynn Belle.
Yes, Natalie Ribbons and Jason Chronis, who now reside in Lockhart Texas, recall both of the above bands, as well as any page from the cult label Sarah Records. Somebody for some reason called that twee pop. “Paper Crown” is an excellent example of that.
But what somebody intended as a pun should be taken as a compliment, because Tele Novella is as melodic and as natural as you can get, and they bring along a solid dose of Texas along with touches of country that crop up in songs on the album. A good part of why their music works lies in Ribbons’ excellent vocals and song arrangements that are both detailed and understated at the same time, letting the duo’s sense of melody shine.
Another reason for the album sounding so natural may lie in the fact that the duo wrote and recorded each song one at the time in whole takes, rather than assembling them through editing. They even tracked the album onto an 8-track cassette recorder.
Lo-fi? Actually, no ‘lo’ but a lot of ‘fi.’ Watch (and listen) to this one creep up close to the top of many ‘best of the year’ list by the end of the year.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: TELE NOVELLA – MERLYNN BELLE