Andrew Belle Dives Deep With Third Full-Length

Andrew Belle has been slowly becoming one of the more talked-about indie singer-songwriters, and with his third full-length studio effort, Belle proves all that talk is well-deserved. I myself was a little late to the party, as Ryan’s piece from last year caught my eye around the same time “Dive Deep” appeared on one of my Spotify playlists. From the very first time I heard it though, I was instantly a fan. In the year since then, I’ve been following him rather closely, with every new song getting me more excited about the record. Of course that excitement culminated just over a week ago on release day, with Dive Deep the album exceeding my expectations.

Right away I noticed the importance of the synth on this record, as this was an element present on all 11 tracks and prominent on the majority of them. In a way the synths feel like the glue that holds everything together. Usually the synths are paired with another instrument, and often they are even what drives the song. Take for instance the opener, “Horizon,” with a minimalistic groove underneath, or the ethereal “Honey and Milk.” Things feel especially electronic on the über-spacey “TRNT,” which serves as one of the album highlights. Part of the reason for that is also in the vocal effects, leading me to another aspect of Dive Deep that really stood out to me.

Throughout the record Belle is consistently stacking rich vocals, one layer on top of another, like on the album’s first two singles, the title track and “Down.” He even brings an R&B-like sound to the table on “Hurt Nobody.”

Musically, it’s not just the synths that shine through on Dive Deep either. The title track adds formidable guitars into the mix, while the electronics combine with the wall of drums on the foot-stomping “You.” Of course, the same can be said of the other lone highlight, the trance-inducing “Black Clouds.” Here, bass and synths combine for a killer 1-2 punch, before a flute line on the bridge cements it as one of the album’s strongest cuts.

Dive Deep closes with its other two most memorable moments, “Drought” and “When the End Comes.” The former boasts the most seamless and perhaps the most complete overall sound on the whole album, while the latter serves as the perfect ending to a phenomenal full-length, with synth and drums parsed together flawlessly. “When the End Comes” clocks in at just shy of a whopping six minutes long, and yet somehow it ends too soon.

I had a difficult time finding tangible shortcomings from Dive Deep, even after listening through the entire album a couple of times. The only thing I could really find is that the overall mood or vibe of the record feels fairly one-dimensional. It is best served up as the soundtrack to a late night drive, and apart from that would likely feel a little out of place. Still, Dive Deep is only further proof of Belle’s talent and vision, which continues to manifest itself, even in the midst of life changes.

Score: 4.5/5

Andrew Belle on Facebook | Dive Deep on iTunes

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