[Album Review] Del Bel- III
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Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Label: Missed Connection Records

Trip-hop is one genre that still has some room to grow, so kudos to Del Bel for keeping the flame alive and even blazing new territories. A further tip of the hat for choosing one of genre’s greats, Portishead, for their primary inspiration. There are, in fact, tracks that sound as if they were lifted right from that British band’s classic ’Dummy’ album (“Only Breathing”, for example), which is not a bad thing at all, especially when Del Bel throws in a few tricks of their own on a few of the other cuts.

“Shapeshifters” has a slinky vibe, but also incorporates Jamaican horns and a rocksteady rhythm. Slinky could also describe “Go On”, even though it sounds more American southwest, like the soundtrack from a David Lynch desert driving movie. On “Do What the Bass Says” Del Bel actually demonstrate how cleverly they can update the Bristol trip-hop sound for the world of 2017, with more contemporary indie vocals from Lisa Conway (as opposed to sounding like Shirley Bassey, circa 1964) and a few spurts of rap.

Trip-hop is a rich mixture of electronic, soul, hip-hop and psychedelia, so it is difficult to go wrong with a band like Del Bel that has the chops to pull it off. It’s an even greater thrill when they actually expand on the genre, as is the case with ‘III’.