Best of Vancouver Music 2013

The Belle Game


The Belle Game

Now in its fourth year of existence, The Belle Game released its full-length debut, the excellent Ritual Tradition Habit, in April on Boompa / Bella Union. Recorded by John Raham and originally slated to be released in late 2012, the spring album has remained at the forefront of the Vancouver scene throughout the year thanks to its catchy, classic hooks and fun, full sound.

Released in March, the video for “Wait Up For You” (directed by Kheaven Lewandowski) whet our appetites for the impending album with its beautifully scandalous, overlapping stories of forbidden love and familial/religious oppression. There has never been a more joyful soundtrack to a waterboarding scene.

“River”, perhaps the best known cut off the album, was rendered into a clip depicting an urban-to-rural coming of age story in Japan, as well as a gorgeous Green Couch session video, filmed at the Rickshaw Theatre (see below). The performance video gives you a great snapshot of the group pulling off their lush sound in a live environment, not to mention lead singer Andrea Lo’s powerful, commanding vocals.

In what was (for me, at least) one of the oddest tour pairings of the year, The Belle Game hit the road with glossy popsters Bear Mountain. Their show at The Vogue Theatre in November was an oddity. The Darcys from Toronto played a quick, tight set to open things up, supporting their latest effort, Warring, to a rather small yet polite crowd. Then Bear Mountain blew the roof off the place with their radio-friendly songs and high energy; I can’t call myself a fan of the group, but I was clearly in the minority that night, as the crowd of brightly blushing teens bopped and yelled madly for these guys. The Belle Game, headlining the show, played next and were clearly glad to be home after a long, successful road trip. The highlight of the night, and what gets me excited for them in 2014, was the new tune to which they treated the audience; the still nameless song, written on the road with the Bear Mountain guys, points toward an exciting new direction and holds much promise for yet more success for The Belle Game.