Album review: Belle Mare's 'The Boat of the Fragile Mind'

Brooklyn duo Belle Mare describes its music as dream-pop, which is more than fair enough: Singer Amelia Bushell and guitarist Thomas Servidone (of Hartford band Heirlooms) certainly evoke a dreamy sensibility on “The Boat of the Fragile Mind,” their debut. She sings in quiet, murmuring tones, accompanied by muted piano arpeggios, strummed acoustic guitar and lush, subdued bubbles of electric guitar.

The duo’s songs play as though you’re hearing them from afar — from behind a closed door down a dimly lit corridor, or drifting through an upper-level window late on a humid night. It’s charming on “All This Time” as Bushell’s vocal melody ebbs and flows over plinking piano and echoes of ambient noise, and vaguely foreboding on “The Once Happy Heart,” a dark guitar figure circling around vocals that sound transported from some other time. In fact, the songs evoke a sense of distance that’s more than just physical: it’s easy to imagine the closer “So Long” playing over the radio in the background of some half-empty saloon in the 1940s, or the title track echoing in Greenwich Village in the early ’60s. It sounds contradictory, but achieving a sense of timeless unbeholden to a specific time isn’t an easy task, which makes the nine songs on Belle Mare’s debut all the more impressive.

— Eric R. Danton

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