22 year-old singer-songwriter Belá Takes Chase! is the latest Australian musical export to come to our attention. Critics have made favourable comparisons to artists such as Dusty Springfield and Nancy Sinatra, although initially, my musical sensibilities did not lead me towards this conclusion. The supplied promo material included the song Miles Away, a pleasant enough radio-friendly ditty which is slick and should appeal to fans of artists such as Ellie Golding, Little Boots and Diana Vickers. Opening with a somewhat melancholy piano part, the track then takes the listener by surprise by abruptly transforming into a modern up-tempo dance track featuring an ostinato piano part supported by a driving bass and a synth string section. Miles Away is essentially a light, pop anthem which creates a favourable impression should this genre be to your taste. However, I was left somewhat confused given the aforementioned accolades drawing comparisons to the likes of Dusty Springfield. Perhaps I’d missed something.
A visit to the website of Belá Takes Chase! helped clarify the situation by way of lyrical, heartfelt tracks such as Radiate, Eye Pennies, Compulsary Resolution and Take What’s Mine. These songs appear in stark contrast to Miles Away, devoid as they are of that song’s commercially driven musical motifs. What we have instead are songs rich in sensitivity, subtlety and raw emotion. Throughout the song Radiate her wonderfully rich, soothing voice soars above her sympathetic guitar accompaniment, bringing to mind the music of Nick Drake. It is, I believe, via these more reflective, soulful musical journeys, that Belá Takes Chase! stands the greatest chance of attracting the kind of loyal following she truly deserves. Potential listeners are strongly advised to check out her website (belatakeschase.com) and her debut EP, Rough Luxe, which is due to be released in October. UK tour dates for September will be announced soon.
(Reviewed by Steve Love and Andy Roles)