‘Black Bear’ Andrew Belle
Perhaps influenced by having his songs featured in angsty TV shows, Andrew Belle takes a cinematic turn on his new Black Bear that practically demands a new subcategory of the singer-songwriter genre.
In direct defiance of the singer-songwriter cliches, this release is the opposite of a strident vocalist earnestly belting out lyrics against an incidental backdrop of acoustic guitar.
Instead, the Chicago-based Belle’s second full-length album is hypnotic and moving as Belle seems to spend more energy crafting the dense atmosphere of the arrangements than he does pondering his relationships via lyrics.
His past songs have been featured in shows such as The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars, but Black Bear tracks are more suitable for epic, dark films. Better yet, these penetrating songs might prompt visions of an internal film among imaginative, susceptible listeners.
Songs from Black Bear likely will be peeled away and used as soundtrack fodder for film and TV projects, but Belle has crafted the cuts to be taken as a mesmerizing whole. It’s unconventional and gripping to the end, when closing track I Won’t Fight It seems to just dissipate into the ether.
– Chuck Campbell, Scripps Howard News Service