THOUGH the name may evoke images of prim ladies and parasols, The Southern Belles are anything but. The Richmond, Virginia-based band of beards blend Southern rock, funk, jazz, and psychedelic rock influences on their sophomore record, Close to Sunrise, released just last month.
Recorded and produced by Bryan Walthall at The legendary Sound of Music Studios (acts as diverse as Lamb of God, Amos Lee, and Hanson have recorded there), Close to Sunrise shows the band deftly combining the swagger of New Orleans big band and jazz with thick, ‘70s-style guitar riffs, organ strains, and harmonies into seven groovy tracks.
Cuts like “Jungle” are best described as smooth, nudging up against elevator-inspired guitar parts; the band always manages to bring in a danceworthy beat, arpeggiated guitar and keys dueling one another in a hypnotizing fashion.
“Soul Shaker” is pure fun with huge horns and jam band sensibility; folks will certainly be shaking it for this one.