Austin Belle


Music is moving. Sometimes it can bring one to tears and other times it can cause one to think more deeply. It can bring about feelings of rage or despondency and it can strip layers off your armor, casting you closer to the matters of the heart. And then there are times when music is so sonically and physically powerful that it is tectonic in its movement.

Canadian musical duo Austin Belle (Stacey Mckitric & Jesse Wainwright) has a sound that is somewhat polarizing but also amazing. Whether these two are perfectionists or whether this was truly a labor of love that needed time to perfect, the end product proves its worth in just how well structured it is. This is a heartfelt musical project that isn’t going to be taken down easily and in fact is probably just getting started – very much like the power of love itself or perusing a dream.

“Just Drive” opens with the title track it’s a rocked out, loose as a screw attitude, sloppy-tight, and awesome kickoff song as you can get without the pieces flying off. I get an image of seeing these two playing in a dingy smoke filled country bar in Nashville and letting it rip. I’ve played in these kinds of bars before – you know a basement full of drifter gutter punks and nu-punks alike, unfinished cement floors, spray paint tags covering the walls, home brew cider and beer being sold for a buck a cup, and a single bare light bulb illuminating the whole affair. Austin Belle has a homebrew sound that’s comparable to a fade pair of blue jeans but make no mistake this is a high end production. I use the imagery because I’ve been to house parties like this and the live music in those dingy basements carried the same kind of energetic free as a bird vibe as this music does. Those illegal live music house parties were defining for me because everything was so raw, real, and with middle fingers held up proudly. This is the feeling I get when listening to tracks “Just Drive”, “Point of No return” and “Forget About You.”

I’d go on about lyrics but I honestly don’t understand a word that venomously falls from the tongue of Belle. They could be strung together run on sentences or they could be random bursts of conscious ‘I’m in love” spew. Personally, I feel that the importance is more in the meat. The answer is in the aural landscape. The rhyme and reason is in the textured textbook style of this masterfully crafted music, and much like a soundtrack without words, the music itself sets a stage, tone, and feeling but the serenity is soon blown away by powerful chaos-factor of love that reaches mountain heights and swoops down into the darkest caverns, churning and chugging along, lumbering, picking up to dizzying speed and dashing the listener against all manner of surfaces. Songs like “Back Where We Belong” really pluck on the heart strings. This album hearkens to mind images of love, living life to the fullest, being true to one self and the good and bad of love within the vastness of time and space. Mckitric is an above average vocalist. Vocally she reminds me of LT Tunstall, Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert and Heather Nova.

This juicy EP by Austin Belle called “Just Drive” does just what the title says – jest roll with it. The EP captures this attitude perfectly, and this reflects both Stacey Mckitric and Jesse Wainwright. It’s in this environment a fan or listen can appreciate really good music that “keeps it real” It’s a well-structured and impressive foray that reaches into the abyss and cracks your heart wide open, which is something a lot of easy radio fed drones could use every now and again.

Austin Belle Videos:


Score 5/5 Stars

Anthony Zito

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