Belle has a light pop sound that often sounds straight from the 1960s; the title track is a cover of the theme for the 1960s’ French TV show Belle et Sébastien, and song titles like ‘Tiny Little Piece of My Heart’ are also suggestive of that era. Runga’s partner, Kody Nielson from The Mint Chicks, is her main collaborator on Belle, contributing lots of different instruments and songwriting, including a sole credit for ‘Darkness All Around Us’. Other band members include bass player Sebastian Steinberg and Jon Brion.
Not everything fits into 1960s sunshine or girl group pop – ‘Everything Is Beautiful and New’ is acoustic and low key. But it’s the big pop hooks of songs like ‘Hello Hello’ and ‘Good Love’ that are the major selling points for Belle.
Belle is noticeably short, at a mere 30 minutes, and it feels a little unsubstantial as a result. But it’s another quality effort from Runga, whose restless, perfectionist journey is interesting to follow.