Album: Tele Novella – Merlynn Belle review

by Harry Hodgson

Natalie Ribbons, from Austin-based folk duo, Tele Novella, described the writing process on her new record as being ‘the first time I just let the songs be about real life… real people’ – and it is a clear testament to the songwriter’s vision

Sentimental and delicate, the record’s intimate soundscape takes the listener into the bright yet emotional world of love and memories – as Ribbons’ vulnerable voice, backed by the minimal yet intricate percussion, creates a warmth seen throughout the record. On a journey of self-realisation and memories of lost relationships, the sonic consistency brings a flow to the record, but key moments pierce through the cathartic howls on the beautiful album closer, Technicolour Town, or the whimsical bells at the start of Desiree.

The best examples of the collection’s lyrical narrative are felt on opener, Words That Stay, which plays with the idea of self-worth and being on the opposite end of an impulsive person who doesn’t care for you as much as you do for them – ‘You’ll only dance if it’s to gun shots’ and ‘another life of yours is over,’ Ribbons sings summarising the balancing act of dealing with such overwhelming feelings. 

As well as this, Wishing Shrine is a beautiful ode to coming back into contact with someone who embodies nostalgia and happier times – with the lyrical themes backed perfectly with the gradual build-up from the bells and bass, which further adds the layer of overwhelming happiness along side the repeated mantra of ‘my wish is coming true.’

Merlynn Belle is an endearing, charming listen. It is real and honest – and achieves everything that songwriting pair – Ribbons, and former Voxtrot bassist, Jason Chronis – set out to achieve. Go and immerse yourself.

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