Alt-rock quartet Bel Esprit have had a busy year touring and hitting the studio, but they’ve finally dropped their debut EP, Lose My Mind, and it’s a stellar freshman effort from the South Hampshire lads. Founded in 2013, the band set out to revitalise the noughties indie scene with particular influences from The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol factory scene. Their new EP, which was released by 25 Hour Convenience Store Records (run by The Libertines’ Gary Powell) is clearly an ode to the genre.
Frontman Billy Herklots sings of heartache in title track ‘Lose My Mind’, after being rejected by a girl he fancies. “In the doorway she should have kissed me / but she’ll say that ‘it’s not like that’” he sings, and we’re all quick to sympathise with his plight. It’s a jubilant rock anthem despite its forlorn lyrics – a soundtrack that would feel right at home played over a teen romantic comedy. It’s buoyant bass line and boisterous percussion leads to equally enthusiastic guitars, the instrumentation builds diligently until it hits its crescendo during the chorus.
Seemingly less buoyant than its predecessor, but still ridiculously infectious, is ‘Detox’. The song continues on with the guitar and drum heavy arrangement, although it’s subtler in its approach. The girl from the previous track still plagues him: “can’t get what I want I need to detox”. He’s repetitive here and assures himself that he really needs to get her out of his system. Towards the end of the song we’re treated to an electric guitar solo that shows a finesse far beyond their two years of inception.
‘Nowhere’, the third track, has bucket-loads of attitude and personality, with a cool little drum intro and guitar licks to carry us through. Backing vocals build as they help chant, “you’re going, you’re going nowhere”, until its abrupt crescendo ending which leaves us in a bereft state. The final track, ‘Island’ explores a somber side to the band’s songwriting. There’s a darker, heavier feel to Herklots’ vocals as he sings, “the same old doom / It’s all over the news/ I read it in the papers but I don’t believe the truth”. The outfit entrances all with its thriving lead guitar and a rousing beat that soars into a grand climax arising from yet another stimulating guitar solo. Lyrically, it doesn’t follow the same jilted lover pattern, however it does provide an added depth to the group’s confident songwriting, which is immensely appealing.
Lose My Mind has all the makings of a great EP: it’s lively, entertaining and a bit of a tease. Overall a truly satisfying foundation for the band’s first attempt. Bel Esprit will be taking their show on the road, be sure to catch them while you can. For more details check out their Facebook page.
Words by Nizza Munoz