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Tele Novella’s “Merlynn Belle” is truly delightful





Tele Novella’s “Merlynn Belle” is truly delightful

Tele Novella’s inviting and inventive new album “Merlynn Belle'' is out now on Kill Rock Stars. The band, made up of Natalie Ribbons and Jason Chronis, crafts sunny and alluring songs that whisk the listener away to a simpler time. Buoyant melodies careen down a myriad of instrumentation to give the heartfelt lyrics space to explore. 

While only clocking in at 32 minutes, “Merlynn Belle” manifests an inter-generational journey. It smoothly glides through compositional styles from the Renaissance to Americana to Sixties Folk to contemporary Indie Pop. The timeless nature of the record is partially due to the use of an 8-track cassette recorder to capture the intricate arrangements—it’s as if Fiona Apple were recorded in 1955. Incorporating the use of atypical instruments, such as the autoharp and the harmonium, also gives off an other-worldly quality one might find on a Richard Dawson album. 

This LP feels like a distinctive step forward from their 2016 debut, “House of Souls.” Ribbons, the singer/songwriter of the pair, moves from a purposeful croon to almost full yodel, telling stories of heartbreak, self-actualization and witches. The duo say they found “the music they wanted to be making all along but didn't know until it happened accidentally”, which is reflected in the natural feel of this record. 

Each of the four singles have a complementary music video that encapsulates the album’s aesthetic perfectly: modern tales through an old-fashioned lens. “Merlynn Belle” floats above vague subgenres, such as Baroque Pop or Freak Folk, into a cloud of familiar escapism. Texans sure need a wholesome distraction from the last couple of weeks, and Tele Novella have provided exactly that! 

 

- Hayden Steckel

Published: March 05, 2021 |

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