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Press/Reviews

Austin 360

"…We caught this fine folk-rock five-piece at the tail end of their 9 p.m. show. It’s tempting to draw parallels between Belle Sounds and Fleetwood Mac, given the triple-threat interplay between band leader Noelle Hampton, masterfully atmospheric guitarist Andre Moran and keyboardist-vocalist Emily Shirley. Backed by bassist-vocalist Nathan Harlan and drummer Jim Echels, they play sophisticated pop originals and have a great rapport with the audience." - Peter Blackstock  - Austin360  (8/26/16)

Examiner.com

"This year has been a particularly exceptional year for Austin music. Although we have a little less than two months to go in 2014, there are some CDs that are absolute standouts. Released in September of this year, The Belle Sounds’ Black Stone is one that is destined to be on many “Best of” lists by December. Formed just over a year ago, this quartet has been compared to Fleetwood Mac, and with their deft lyrics and lush sound, the comparison is more than accurate. Featuring the gorgeous voice of Noelle Hampton, the vocals and masterful keyboard playing of Emily Shirley, and incendiary guitar of Andre Moran, The Belle Sounds have already received praise from No Depression Magazine, played an official ACL after show, and appeared on KUTX’s “Live from Studio A.” Despite their short time on the Austin music scene, they are fast becoming local favorites.

Produced by renowned singer/songwriter Neilson Hubbard, Black Stone shows this bands’ talents to their fullest. Their songs are smart, haunting, and lyrical. Perhaps one of the most beautiful songs on the EP, the title track is a tribute to the Northern California of Hampton’s childhood. “Golden Boy” is a gorgeous track about a seemingly promising lover with a dark side. Similarly, “Drifter” explores the bittersweet ups and downs of a long friendship. “The Ghost of Mykonos” takes the listener to Greece, with the story of a marriage that ends in tragedy. “The Siren,” a literate and thoughtful tune about escaping the excesses of the modern world, shows the group’s stunning harmonies to their best advantage. With just five songs, The Belle Sounds have created an EP that feels like an odyssey. Their lyrics delve way beyond those of a typical love song, with all the complexities that come with any relationship.

With Black Stone, this group has solidified its place among the most unique bands in town. They are even more enchanting live, so Austinites have another chance to catch them at Strange Brew on November 28th at 8PM. They will also play Lambert’s on December 18th at 10PM. Learn more about The Belle Sounds upcoming gigs and projects at www.thebellesounds.com." -Gina Sigillito/Examiner.com

No Depression

"The follow-up to a sensational debut, the new Black Stone EP suggests that the excellence evidenced in that initial outing was no fluke. Production by that master of atmosphere and ambiance Neilson Hubbard in no way attempts to restrict the sound to the kind of moody melodies Hubbard always seems so anxious to purvey on his own. Rather, he gives the group the latitude to explore their every muse, be it the thoughtful circumstance contained by “Black Stone and “Golden Boy” or the folk-tinged surroundings of “The Siren” and “Ghost of Mykonos.” Helmed by superb songstress Noelle Hampton, the Belle Sounds navigate the difficult divide  between seductive folk pop and the stirling accessibility that successfully prevents them from ever becoming too self-absorbed. Despite the fact it’s only five songs long, Black Stone EP is a compelling compendium, further evidence that this band bears watching. Thus, one can only imagine what will come next."  -Lee Zimmerman/No Depression

The Jersey Beat

"Effervescent folk-pop done with tremendous buoyancy and melodicism, one can’t help but be swept away by the sheer infectious tunefulness that’s richly evident in this spot-on delightful album. Noelle Hampton’s sweet honeydew voice soars with breathtaking grace and agility. The harmonic arrangements likewise hit the dulcet spot, thanks to both the superbly proficient playing and the sure grasp of heavenly lush hooks. In addition, the songwriting digs deep into a strong melancholy mood with often touching results (the haunting “Away Away” in particular is simply heartbreaking in its plain-spoken articulation of forlorn regret). A beautifully fragile and affecting little jewel." - Joe Wawrzyniak,  JerseyBeat.com

KDHX

"Their new band, the Belle Sounds, offers a fresh start -- and, on the new track "Should Have Been Mine," a fresh, tensely-lit, guitar-pop treatise on the allure and threat of the all-mighty dollar."  -KDHX.org

Austin Monthly

"Husband-and-wife duo Noëlle Hampton and André Moran have put out a debut full-length disc that is quite a polished effort, mixing bits of twee pop with wafts of folk. At their best, they veer toward the indie camp, like on the hooky "Away Away" and the Shins-sounding "When We Were Young". -Paul Carrubba/AUSTIN MONTHLY

Blurt Magazine

"Singer Noelle Hampton and her husband/musical collaborator Andre Moran may have inspired a new twist in producer Neilson Hubbard’s usual MO. Whereas Hubbard, the proprietor of Nashville’s Mr. Lemon’s Studio, generally opts for darker designs, the duo’s approach is anything but, decidedly upbeat and brimming with bubbly enthusiasm. In some cases it takes the form of a propulsive rhythm, as in the case of “Away Away” or “Should Have Been Me,” while at other times – on the songs “Night Owl,” “Cassiopeia” and “Island” in particular — the pace dwindles down to a quiet shuffle or some other form of alluring expression.
While nothing detracts from their agreeable demeanor, the lithe designs could lead some skeptics to dismiss the Belle Sounds as unapologetic pop pundits. On the other hand, they also deserve credit for their instrumental additives. With an impressive backing band that includes Hubbard on bass and keyboards, Evan Hutchings on drums, and Glen Phillips, Will Sexton and Charlie Faye assisting with the vocals, the duo find no need to sacrifice cred for the sake of affability. Consider this eponymous debut an example of ear candy with a rich, robust center."
 
-LEE ZIMMERMAN/Blurt Magazine

Popculturez.com

Noëlle Hampton has already released four solo albums, demonstrating the beautiful lilting tones of her voice to the world, yet here she has decided to cement the musical partnership with her husband, André Moran, and create The Belle Sounds. While the couple have worked together over the years, they decided to return to the indie-singer / songwriter format that saw Hampton first start her musical career.
 
"The result is their superbly under-stated eponymous debut, ‘The Belle Sounds.’ Hampton’s vocals and Moran’s honeyed guitar lines are assisted by the work of producer and multi-instrumentalist Neilson Hubbard and drummer Evan Hutchings. Stripped back and emotive, this is not an album of foot-stomping party-starters, but rather a more contemplative and, at times, melancholy journey.
 
The pop-folk sounds of tracks like ‘Island,’ bring a genuinely pure clarity with a back-to-basics approach that takes the music back to the clean instrumentation as Hampton’s angelic voice drifts across the top. There are plenty of impressive moments on this 11-track release, such as the powerful ‘Away Away,’ the emotive ‘Just Like Gold,’ and the superb ‘Rockingham Lane.’  While The Belle Sounds bring an airy and spacious feel to their music, they also offer touches of country music with tracks like, ‘When We Were Young.’ This country influence may owe a little to the fact that much of the production work was done in East Nashville’s Mr. Lemons studio, not to mention Hampton and Moran’s recent move to Austin, Texas.
 
Electric and acoustic instruments come together to create beautiful harmonies, which create lush soundscapes that flatter rather than fight Hampton’s passionately delivered vocals. Lyrically, The Belle Sounds keep matters close to the heart, with emotional tales of love, both lost and found. The poetic song-writing perfectly matches the production and offers an album that is perfect for late night relaxing, lazy summer days, or cross-country drives.
 
The Belle Sounds had not planned on coming together with this project, but it seems that the creative urge would not leave them and, feeling free to create the music as they wished, this album seems to come from a heart-felt place. It is as if this album needed to made, and that, once started it was to fall into place perfectly. Often these days, artists feel restricted or forced to create a particular set of songs for an album, but that does not seem to be the case with The Belle Sounds. Rather than having the sound of a collection of disparate tracks, this album makes sense from beginning to end. Beautifully relaxing, this could make some perfect Sunday afternoon listening – check it out."

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