When I first popped Omert· into my carís CD player I had absolutely no preconceived notions of what I was in for. I didnít read the one-sheet, nor had I ever heard of the band - not to mention any of their music. The only thing that caught my eye was the sticker alerting me to the fact that Ed Rose (Get Up Kids) was brought in to mix the album. I figured Iíd listen to a couple tracks and then move on to another album in the enormous stack of CDs that I had accrued over the holiday break, but sadly for all of those other records, I didnít (well not until the next day at least). The Belles captured my attention from the first track, "So, I Sing" - a short, quirky, Beatles/Beach Boys-esque tune - and continued to draw me in with each consecutive song. I listened to it twice in a row, if that tells you anything.

This two-piece outfit from Lawrence, Kansas, (also home to Vagrant's The Anniversary) write beautiful songs, and that's all there really is to it. What I assume will be the album's first single, "Never Said Anything," is a prime example of do-it-all singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist Christopher Tolle's penchant for crafting thoughtful, catchy, and interesting songs. I seriously find myself singing the chorus over and over and over andÖ well, you get the picture. From "You Canít Have It All," which is a pretty damn good attempt at sounding like Revolver-era Beatles, to the simply-produced, guitar and vocals only (except for some waves and shit buried deep in the mix) closing track, "A Thousand Ships," Omert· is filled with creative and well-constructed songs. This is a perfect album to help you through those cold, lonely winter nights, and while not EVERY song is completely amazing, I am thoroughly impressed with The Belles' debut effort. I recommend it highly.

The Belles
Lakeshore Records