Seabellies have always been unashamedly romantic, but they ain’t soft. Fever Belle dirties up their pretty sound in a way that feels genuinely dangerous and beautiful. Put on the album, and hug-dance someone till it ends.

Seabellies write songs that make you want to alternatively dance with and hug someone. Maybe at the same time. Maybe their frontman, Trent Grenell, who sounds here like he’s torn between heartbroken nostalgia and the joy of starting over.

The band have been crafting a sound over the past three releases that is undoubtedly theirs – yearning vocals, swirling synthesisers, staccato strings, dancefloor grooves. They arrived almost fully formed with their debut EP Wave Your Fingers To Make The Winters, yet their latest offering doesn’t rely on old tricks. Fever Belle pushes the blend of electronica and indie rock into an expansive new sonic territory for the Newcastle five-piece. And it is exciting.

This is a band that isn’t afraid of risk. In that regard, the pairing with producers Berkfinger (Philadelphia Grand Jury) and Tim Whitten (The Go-Betweens) makes for a stirringly bizarre blend of textures that come together like jigsaw pieces. Oh, and it helps that the songwriting is in top form.

Thematically, the record seems to be about falling apart and picking up the pieces (I’m sure there’s another jigsaw reference to be made here…), and this feeling grows throughout the album. It all starts off warm and relaxed, with title track ‘Fever Belle’ and single ‘It’s Alright’ lulling us into security. By the time the stomp of ‘Berlin Horses’ hits, we are thrown into a more urgent second half that holds all the way to bubbling, spacey jam of ‘Dark Echoes’.

4/5 stars


Fever Belle is out now through Permanent/Shock Records

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