Written by Eddie Ferranti
You do not see many husband and wife teams these days in bands. Plus very few that mesh well when they do play together like the Austin,Texas duo of Noelle Hampton and Andre Moran. Together they have formed a very cool band called The Belle Sounds. Fresh off a sold out performance at the One-2-One Bar in Austin they brought their CD release full band gig to the venerable McGonigels Mucky Duck in Houston. Their third album is titled “The Sea Within” and it played very nicely in the acoustic cool confines of this venue. It was a special event with a five piece ensemble featuring Greg Hagen on bass, Emily Shirley manning the keys, and Jim Echels pounding skins fitting perfectly on the tight stage.
Being together over twenty years Moran and Hampton have been on the Austin music scene since 2004 and they have carved a nice niche in that music rich city. They dove into the new album this night with “The Informant” which featured a nice “shark bite” edge to Andre’s guitar which I have always loved when I catch this dude. His layout of floor pedals and buttons is awesome and he makes that axe roar when called upon. In fact we had not seen these guys since last December and early on you could tell they were leaning to a harder sound which was sweet indeed. “Golden Boy” had an electro modern vibe to it followed by “Like a Villain” which NH prefaced with tales of her inner struggles with panic attacks which I can relate to myself. The did a killer video of this one that you must see! Hampton wears her heart on her sleeve so well while her hubbie shows his emotions thru his eyebrow gyrations! Together they present a trippy hippie type of gig filled with dark hard tunes with catchy choruses like “Afterglow” and the apocalyptic “The Siren”. Noelle was laid out like a hot mermaid this night and after a pal in the audience sent her a tequila shot her tail started flapping! Ha! Her caring demeanor shined thru when she was speaking about handling the “yang and yang of life” – the positives and negatives that go on in your day to day situation.
“Olivia” and “Safe From Love” had a psychedelic sexy feel to them rather than hard rock which showed how this band can flip the switch to ballads with effective results. This wonderful evening wound down with touching “When You Lose Someone” bringing the memories of Jimmy Lafave to mind for Hampton and company followed by the fitting “Transcendental” about just clearing your mind and relaxing. The city of Houston does not appreciate what a bonanza of talent is flowing into this city from Austin and hats off to the Mucky Duck for giving acts like this one a chance to bestow their talents on us. In closing, I would like to quote Hampton when asked to give advice to young musicians: “Be kind, be humble. Work with people that you like and that are kind as well. And have patience.” Amen girl. A great message to follow indeed. Sort of like peace, love , and understanding. Good things happen to good people and may it happen in a big way to this outfit………Support live music!
Eddie “Edge” Ferranti
Houston Music Review