by Tiana Feng
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Release Date: April 16, 2013
Label: Boompa

It’s hard to believe Ritual Tradition Habit is only the debut full length from Vancouver’s The Belle Game. Before this, they had 2 EPs. 2009’s Inventing Letters and 2011’s Sleep to Grow. None of which have songs that find themselves on Ritual Tradition Habit.

What draws me to this album is Andrea Lo’s powerful and confident voice. You hear this in the reaffirming, “I’ll always be by your side” of “Little Wars” or the confident proclamation of “I’ll be your river” of “River”.

This is definitely an album that should be listened to through headphones to enjoy the full extent of its gorgeous textures. The band knows exactly what they want to sound like. The single “Wait Up for You” and “Blame Fiction” are perfect combination of power house hook vocals, strong percussion and a distinct melodic guitar line. “Blame Fiction” also has a sort of tropical pop vibe to it for a bit of variation.

“In Secrets” let us in with a trumpet admist layers of sound, like a sun trying to peep through the clouds. After the intro, the vocals become the most clear they have been. There’s a lack of fuzz in the production that compliments a tune about being revealed.

The album is named after the first middle and last tracks: “Ritual”, “Tradition” and “Habit”. Each of these tunes has an inexplicably dark atmosphere sort of like if the album cover was an Instagram layer for someone’s life. Someone who missed out on an opportunity as echoed by the album’s final “I didn’t know you were playing for keeps.”