Recommended if you like: Washed Out, The Analog Affair, BANNERS
Life begins at the end of our comfort zones. For the more cautious of us, this can be a daunting, sometimes terrifying realization. It almost comes as an ultimatum: reach out far, way too far, grasp for something you’ve never felt, look over that edge, take the leap… or continue to be bound by all that you’re trying to escape. It can be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences ever, but it can also be one of the most enlightening. Finally, actually taking that leap of faith results in a growth, a feeling of accomplishment that stays with us, close to the heart, reminding us that any and all things are, in fact, possible.
Honey and milk, honey and milk
What do you want, what do you want
Is it more than you got, more than you got
Is it more than you know, more than you know
Listen: “Honey and Milk” – Andrew Belle
This theme is tackled expertly in the new song “Honey and Milk” by Andrew Belle. Originating as a folk-leaning singer-songwriter and hailing from Chicago, Belle has re-worked his image in the last few years towards an affinity for blissful waves of soft electro-pop, lulling percussion, and ambient electronics. His debut 2010 studio album, The Ladder focused on a charming acoustic, piano-driven blend of pop. He switched lanes for 2013’s critically-acclaimed Black Bear, drawing on influences such as Washed Out, M83, and Beach House. This new shift in sound is attributed to a desire to not be confined to a “niche of being… just an acoustic singer-songwriter.”
Black Bear’s subject material ranged from autobiographical subjects like the evaluation of personal relationships to analyzing Belle’s own relationship with God. Dive Deep, his upcoming new album, armed with preliminary singles “Dive Deep,” “You,” and “Down,” appears prepared to further inspect this kind of subject material. “Honey and Milk” welcomes the listener into a sinuous funhouse of mirrors. Introspection is the key word here. With Belle’s help, you are invited to investigate yourself from many angles. It is clear that he has continued to employ aspects of the ambitious and critically-acclaimed album’s electro-pop soundscape for his new music, and it suits each song thoroughly, each one harboring a certain depth in its breezy buoyancy.
The moon’s right there in front of me,
I can see you with my mind
Moves right there inside of you love,
but you’re holding me down
Bottle of smoke, bottle of smoke
You follow the grid, follow the grid
But spare the rod, spare the rod
When you spoil the kid, spoil the kid
Lyrically, “Honey and Milk” touches upon dealing with fears and discomfort, how to overcome them so that you can begin to live your best life, unbesmirched by all the detriment. Belle has previously stated that he wrote the song with “the perspective of God” in mind; he imagines what God would say to him, what counsel he’d give in moments where he gets “caught up trying to stay safe and comfortable”. His trust in God has been a defining component of his deeply introspective music. It is commendable that Belle hasn’t felt the need to shy away from the intersections of art, faith, music, and love. A synthesizing line comes to mind. “But spare the rod… / when you spoil the kid” references the Proverbs 13:24 bible verse in which it’s illustrated that the child who is “spared” the rod (the child who is not disciplined) will ultimately wind up more spoiled than one who was not spared. “He who loves [his son] is diligent to discipline him.” As the song is written from God’s perspective, it is deemed imperative for Belle to experience the trials and tribulations of life, and it is apparent that this sentiment is rooted in a deep love.
And I just want a glimpse of it
with my feet on the ground
And I’m not scared to climb ’cause
I heard that you’re holding me down
Cause this is the water
I’m swimming in, swimming in
And this is the moment where
we’re coming undone, undone
And this is the bottle now,
fill it in, fill it in
And this is the moment that
we both run from, run from
Especially coupled with “Honey and Milk,” Andrew Belle’s shift in sound has both effectively served as a goal completed, and a future encumbrance that’s inspired more music to come. He has taken the leap into untrodden waters, done something (several somethings now, including packing everything and moving to the west coast with his wife, and having their first child) that’s scared him, and yet obstacles remain on the horizon. There’s a new playing field now, but the game is the same: get out of your comfort zone. Grow, exponentially, by introducing yourself to new experiences, and remain open-minded about the choices you make along the way; they are edifying reminders of the tenacity of the human spirit.
The new album, Dive Deep, is set for release on August 25 through Ready Set Records. Andrew Belle will be embarking on a tour soon after in supporting of the album, beginning in San Francisco on September 12.
:: pre-order Dive Deep here ::
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photo © 2017