Belgium-based soul, pop, and rock outfit Blue and Broke recently unveiled their third LP, Night Shadows, demonstrating their emergent, distinctive sound.

Blue and Broke share, “We just wanted to write and record real songs, played by real people on real instruments. The song always takes the lead, making this album both so diverse and rich. The songs are inspired by the work of Edward Hopper, Vivian Mayer, and Roberta Flack.”

Up until a few years ago, Blue and Broke were primarily a live band. Then in 2016, they released Kiss Me Twice, followed by 2018’s Edward, inspired by the work of painter Edward Hopper. Prior to Night Shadows, the band recorded a ‘Live in Studio’ album, embracing songs from their first two albums.

Blue and Broke is made up of Melissa Anthuenis (vocals), Pedro De Bruyckere (guitars), Danny Verstraete (Hammond, piano), Augustijn Vermandere (bass), and Niels Delvaus (drums).

Encompassing 12-tracks, Night Shadows begins with “As I Can,” opening on trembling hues flowing into an alt-rock-flavored tune topped by Melissa’s splendidly evocative voice. A dazzling guitar imbues the music with savors of Spaghetti Western tones, followed by the sumptuous bray of a saxophone.

Entry points include “Bear It All,” pushing out low-slung country flavors, while Melissa’s lush tone infuses the lyrics with tints of drawling surfaces. “Most of the Time” features the charismatic glow of the Amstel Gospel Choir, blending their gospel-blues-lace harmonies with Melissa’s smoldering voice.

“Outside” rolls out on jangly colors riding a thumping rhythm, conjuring up hints of Motown and Linda Ronstadt and The Cranberries. This is a grand song, light and breezy, rife with glistening ripples. “Stone” features bright, oozing horns accenting a funk-lite melody. On this track, Melissa’s deluxe vocals deliver subtle aromas, at once smooth and intoxicating.

One of the best tracks on the album, “Was It Worth It,” pushes out simmering bluesy textures, sleazy and voluptuous, as Melissa injects the lyrics with dark, portentous timbres.

Flavored with retro washes of sonic pigments, Night Shadows parades the inimitable, stylish sound of Blue and Broke.

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