In 2011 The Black Belles released their eponymous debut album, which was produced and recorded with Jack White. The album is full of gritty garage rock that despite it’s usually dark tone is very addictive, and has that old school recording feel that Third Man Records is known for. Singer Olivia Jean further pushes the vocal style from their single into a style that stands out from any other female singer, all while singing. The other standout feature on the album is the organs, featured in most songs, a refreshing sound after being vacant from most music for decades. The album also has a very heavy vibe that occasionally sounds like Jack White is pushing unused Dead Weather ideas into songs.
As far as the standouts on the album go the first would have to be one of the singles, “Wishing Well” is a quick garage-surf-rock jam that explodes after each solo into solos that sound like fluid White Stripes solos. “Not Tonight” contains all the eeriness the band exudes and turns it into an organ and bass driven song that despite its simplicity turns into a very layered chorus where the keyboard blooms into sweeping arpeggios and competing bass lines between the organ and bass. “Hey Velda” sounds like “Under the Bridge” was given to the Smashing Pumpkins, and explodes after drifting into silence. BUT… the song you should listen to if you’re going to choose just one from the album is “Honky Tonk Horror”, it mixes the spooky look and sound of the band, with dark toned organs and eerie riffs, and then switches gears to verses that alternate between distant cries and shrieking call backs by Olivia and her overdriven guitar, this is the definitive song by them. It exudes this feeling so much that the queen of goth darkness Elvira has even adopted it as the theme to her new show.