SHE’S got one of those brilliantly tonally expressive voices, which skips up and down the register with easy fluidity, flowing through the notes in the way Bjork does; but then, she knows a thing or two about leftfield vocal expression, being a former beatboxing world champion.
The artist we’re talking about? Bellatrix, who plies a line in a quality velvety, alt.pop, a little noir, a lot luxuriant.
She’s just dropped a new single, “Bad Love”, in which she coos, trills, sighs, declaims about the invisible cage of a bad love, that situation made worse by knowing what she wants; and it so isn’t this. Synth strings with a mellotron feel glide elegantly over a light, almost trip-hop groove; “How the fuck am I supposed to deal with this?” she sings with a whisper. It’s all about the nuance. It’s one of those songs that’ll suddenly sit home and seize you. And it’s from the heart – from raw, bruised experience.
“‘Bad Love’ is a realisation, and the lyrics speak for themselves,” says Bel. “I can remember being sat in a candlelit circle with my womxn’s group, and saying ‘I know that I’m in an abusive relationship, but right now I can’t see the door’.
“I was finally able to be completely real with myself about the situation. It felt like a moment that I could rest in, and prepare myself for what was to come next.
“There was a lot of grief, and not knowing, and also compassion. For me, and for them.”
Her forthcoming, four-track EP, I Was An Aphid, takes its name from a 1978 text by American feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde, who propounded that “women are maintained at a distant/inferior position to be psychically milked, much the same way ants maintain colonies of aphids to provide a life-giving substance for their masters.” The quartet of tracks therein detail the strength Bel has rediscovered since leaving that sour coupling.
“In 2019 I broke up from an abusive relationship that I’d been in for three years,” she explains. “When I look back I think ‘fucking hell, how did that happen?’ because I never expected it to happen to me.
“This EP is a journey through all that: the relationship, the end of it, and what happened afterwards.”
Bellatrix’s “Bad Love” is out now on digital streaming platforms; her EP, I Was An Aphid, will be out later this year.