When Belleruche burst onto the scene in July 2007 with their debut LP ‘Turntable Soul Music’, their unique, refreshing sound won them a dedicated fan base and it rapidly became the fastest-selling debut on Tru Thoughts to date, with sales of well over 10,000 and counting. Acclaim and support flooded in from Daddy G (Massive Attack), Norman Jay and many other music luminaries around the world.
On ‘The Express’ the trio have risen to the challenge and built on their distinctive handmade hip hop soul style to create a stunning follow-up album with a more raw, bluesy edge, still retaining their winningly simple formula of DJ Modest on turntables, Ricky Fabulous on guitar and Kathrin deBoer’s inimitable vocals. The first single – “Anything You Want (Not That)”, out on 15th September – has had heavy airplay on a long list of UK radio stations including BBC Radio 2, BBC 6Music and NME Radio, and is proving popular with DJs around the world for its combination of smoky velvet vocals over a tougher-edged beat that can hold its own on a dancefloor. Belleruche’s international appeal has gained them playlisting and heavy rotation on the French national radio stations Radio Nova and FIP; and support and features in the press as far afield as Japan, Switzerland, Australia, the USA and Canada.
From beginning to end ‘The Express’ is an eclectic and fluid listen, making more subtle use of the turntable trickery and leaving a wider open space for the strength of the original melodies and ideas to come through. A prime example is “Goose Blues”, on which a deep, simple guitar line intertwines with an affecting vocal and a chorus to rival the blues classics of old, over a raw, stripped-back beat. The next track “Like 4 The Hard Way” is a song that Belleruche originally wrote for ‘Turntable Soul Music’ – and the cheeky textures and electronic flourishes added into the mix by DJ Modest nod to their previous work – but it has been toughened up in the studio and finds its rightful place on this album. “Rumble Strip” does what it says on the tin, with an insistent driving rhythm section shot through with funk-inspired guitar licks and a fiery vocal. “Late Train” blasts into life with a powerful, catchy horn hook and swings between a dark, brooding verse and a soaring chorus which always goes down a storm in live sets. The earthy crackle of “The Duck” sounds like a well worn favourite funk/soul record and pays homage to Belleruche’s love of dusty vinyl and twisted, off kilter sounds. “You’re Listening To The Worlds” is a blissful way to round off the record, with a calm, peaceful feel punctuated by ripples of atmospheric guitar and turntable magic.
Since the release of their first album, Kathrin deBoer, Ricky Fabulous and DJ Modest have spent a fair portion of their time gigging around the world, notching up performances at diverse and legendary locations including Glastonbury, Sydney Opera House and the Montreux Jazz Festival – where they befriended The Raconteurs and indie favourites Vampire Weekend and struck up a riotous genre-blending jam onstage. Belleruche also supported the mighty Fat Freddys Drop on tour earlier this year, playing to in excess of 5000 fans at the Hammersmith Apollo. With her irresistible style becoming increasingly in demand, Kathrin has become the regular singer for the Bonobo live band, and you may have recently heard her dulcet tones on tracks by the likes of DJ Vadim, Aaron Jerome and label mates TM Juke And The Jack Baker Trio.