Friday, February 22, 2013
EP Review :: Ballerina Black :: Injureless: BLÅ
Feb 14 2013 (self released)
Words: David Beech
Described on their website as “mope-rock” or “grave-wave”, it's fair to say that LA's Ballerina Black relish in their own blend of melancholia. Their music is an eclectic mix of 80s inspired synth hooks, ephemeral vocals and chunky bass lines that blend together to create something darkly atmospheric and strangely uplifting. Their new EP is the second in a series of extended plays called 'Injureless' and features 4 tracks spread across 15 minutes. Each track manages to sound somewhat distinct from the others while still giving the record a concomitant feel with each track transitioning smoothly in to the next.
Opening track 'Cannot Feel the Reign' starts with a drum beat that will be familiar to fans of Bloc Party and a gradual synth builds throughout the intro slowly adding depth to the track before Bobby Moynahan's vocals glide effortlessly over the top to round it off. At a little over five minutes, it's the longest track to feature on 'BLÅ' and introduces the overall aesthetic feel of Ballerina Black perfectly.
New single 'Birth of A Felony' is much the same. A heavy bass riff forms the backbone of the song, juxtaposing itself against the delicate synth patterns that accompany it. Here Moynahan's vocals are more confident than before and as a result are more discernible, which obviously works in the bands favour. It's not necessarily the vocals which carry the song but they add an extra layer of texture to the track which would otherwise feel transient in all but the chorus.
The strongest track on the EP is the also the shortest; 'Not Far Away' clocks in at a little over two and a half minutes. A delicately morose string section fills in for the absent bass while a finger-picked acoustic decorates the songs middle-ground. The vocals in this track are by far the best on the record and serve to extenuate what is already an incredible song.
It's hard to pigeon-hole a band like Ballerina Black, which is probably a good thing. At times they can sound sort of similar to Bloc Party, but there's an overt darkness to each track that makes even that comparison difficult to maintain. This is really an EP that words can't do justice. It's by no means perfect record. The production quality is of such a standard that it loses some of it's integrity amidst all the polish. Don't let that deter you, however. What you'll find here are four tracks that, paradoxically, are as different as they are similar and rather than being listened to as individual songs, need to be listened to as a whole to really get the full experience.