For any particularly new band or artist the influence of time is rarely unfavourable. It provides worthy cause for reflection and ample opportunity to expel any teething problems.
Not that Vancouver, Canada’s Belle Game were necessarily inadequate first-time round. Instead, given the reception it appeared more so that their detriment lay in arousing the exact opposite, with comparisons to contemporary indie darlings such as Beach House or Grizzly Bear being all too easy to surmise.
Next month the quartet release their sophomore full-length, Fear/Nothing, more than four whole years on from their first. Given the contents of its preceding singles, ‘Spirit’ and ‘Low’, which individually re-introduce the band a step ahead from where they last left us, it’s obvious the time between – excessive by popular standards – was a conscious decision.
The space once occupied by brittle, reverb-laden guitars amid familiar song-writing has been completely rehashed, with the group now sporting a more modern ethereal approach. The overwhelming stature of Belle Game’s new shoegaze-y pop isn’t possible simply by their will to draft and perform it, though, the band rightly taking the initiative to pool the expertise of executive producer – and co-founder of fellow Canadian outfit, Broken Social Scene – Kevin Drew.
Ironically enough Broken Social Scene themselves too made a similarly bold move in genres for their second album. If not for that we never would have joyously been able to witness the explosive, celebratory indie rock that’s graced their many subsequent efforts. Belle Game might have shown us they have the courage to seek out their better hand. The only question remaining is whether or not they also have the potential to maintain it.
Fear/Nothing is available from September 29th via Arts & Crafts.