Belleruche have been put in an awkward category somewhere between soul, electro and funk. In Roller Chain their soul side is definitely the strongest.
The various sounds of Belleruche become one unit in Roller Chain. DJ Modest and Ricky support each other’s patterns, creating an excellent single sound. Because of this when the sound is about to change you shut up and take notice.
Kathrin Deboer has an absolutely beautiful voice, perfectly suited to the style and is able to vocalise effortlessly. The only comparable voice to Deboer is a younger Nina Persson, from The Cardigans.
Unfortunately, it seems that the potential of Deboer has been wasted a little, comparing her lyrical and vocal work to earlier albums Roller Chain could be called flat; not that the vocals are bad, it’s just they’ve been better.
The feel of the album is created in the contrast between tracks. For example, Roller Chain starts with ‘Stormbird’, a gentle track with a serious tone but laidback feeling. Giving Roller Chain’s a ‘hey, how ya doing?’ feel. But when album highlight on Roller Chain, ‘Reach for The Bottle’ comes in with a strong soul sound and vocals but then has nice little electro parts throughout that blend superbly with the darker vocals. The changes are rough around the edges but somehow work to create fusion and contrast at the same time.
That’s not to say Roller Chain is perfect, it has some draw backs. Compared with Belleruche’s earlier albums it has definitely lost some of the attitude. It seems they lost most of their funk along the way. This doesn’t necessarily make Roller Chain worse, just different.
Roller Chain is definitely worth a listen, it’s a very good album by an excellent band in a poorly published genre.