Andrew Belle is one of the nation’s up-and-coming folk artists, being featured on NoiseTrade recently with his debut feature-length album. See what our reviewers had to say here!
The Ladder is Andrew Belle’s first attempt at a full length album, and while it has a few bright points you can definitely tell it’s his first attempt. The album kicks off with the title track, ‘The Ladder’. Like thousands of musicians before him, Andrew Belle writes about the pain of past relationships and the mistakes there in. While I don’t feel inclined to give too many points for originality in regards to the subject of the track, or the entire album for that matter, lyrically this track was surprisingly rich. The first lines of this song present two people, selfish and faithless, dealing with the pain of poor decisions:
Woe is me
Faithless you and selfish me
I will leave a key for you outside my doorway
These lyrics, when viewed in contrast with the second verse and viewed in light of the chorus, have a powerful message:
Woe is me
Sentimental you and faithful me
And i will be the one to gaze on you discreetly
Slow your speed
Turn yourself around and follow me
Cause i will be the one who preys upon you sweetly
On a ladder from there to here I’ll climb
All this clatter between my ears I find
Does it matter if i can’t clear my mind?
There’s a right and a wrong time
In love there is definitely a right and wrong time for thinking clearly. Great stuff. The seconds song on the album was another bright point that caught my ear. Titled ‘Static Waves’, my favorite part of this track was the female harmony. It plays off the lyrics well as Andrew tells a story of one fateful night in another girls apartment. The harmonies are haunting, almost as if they scream from a distant memory ‘I would have let you leave.” Most other songs felt like copies of these two in some way, but there was one more track that broke the mold and stood out to me. ‘Open Your Eyes’ introduced some new themes lyrically. Rather than focusing on mistakes, this sing seems to be a cry for reconciliation.
Open your eyes now
It’s time to see
If you still believe in me
Open your life now
I’ll try to be all that you need me to be
I enjoyed the shift in subject. The arrangement of this song was a pleasant deviation as well. It felt much more progressive than most of the other tracks, building and inducing emotion with it’s wailing electric guitars and staggered drum beats. The change between piano and acoustic leads really aids the progressive feel. All things considered I’d say this was my favorite track on the album. In it’s entirety The Ladder certainly isn’t a bad album, but it’s not anything special either. It has it’s brights points but definitely not something I’ll be listening to for days on the car. Half the tracks felt like copies created to fill space. Considering it’s Andrew’s first full length I’m excited to see how he develops.
I’ve never had to try to get a song stuck in my head until I started listening to Andrew Belle’s, “The Ladder”. The songs have great, sometimes thought-provoking lyrics. The banjo, piano, percussion and amazing harmonies fit together incredibly well. Folk has yet another talented individual creating music… that sounds about like everything and everyone else in the genre.
I enjoyed the album. There wasn’t a bad thing about it… other than the fact that after my first day of listening to nothing else, I couldn’t recall a single lyric, melody or beat. Andrew Belle is a wonderfully talented musician and singer, but musically, he’s doing the same stuff that everyone else is. This album did nothing for folk.
Talent isn’t hard to find on a planet of almost seven billion people. Foresight may be a little more challenging to discover and finding an individual or group with both seems to be excessively rare. So… good job Andrew Belle. I hope you enjoyed creating future elevator music. It’s pleasant and I enjoyed it. I just can’t remember any of it.