Audio Mixer: Bill Skibbe.
Recording information: Key Club Recording.
Photographer: Jennifer Tzar.
Wild Belle's 2013 debut album, Isles, features the band's catchy, laid-back mix of indie pop, reggae, and singer/songwriter soul. Centered around the brother and sister duo of Elliot and Natalie Bergman, the Chicago-based Wild Belle often utilize Elliot's funk and reggae leanings as the leader of the Afro-pop ensemble NOMO (with whom Natalie has also toured). However, with songs largely based around Natalie's love of soul and melodic '60s pop, Wild Belle have a less frenetic, if still hypnotically languid take on NOMO's world fusion sound. In that sense, Isles has a kind of sultry, post-Amy Winehouse retro-soul aesthetic that's lightened by the sibling's own positive-minded, dance club hippie vibe. Tracks like the languid "Keep You" and the buoyant "Shine" largely work to showcase Natalie's cherubic croon by surrounding it with fuzzy synths, echoey percussion, and Elliot's own rootsy saxophone lines. Elsewhere, cuts like the shimmery, hip-swaying "Twisted" and the old-school reggae-sounding "June" help make Isles the perfect summer afternoon album, designed for doing nothing in particular besides soaking up the good vibes. ~ Matt Collar