Since the release of their Kill Count EP in 2011, and the success of its title track in 2012, The Balconies have been making waves internationally with their rigorous touring schedule and spirited live shows. Raging through North America and Europe for the better part of 2013 – including performances at Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn, NXNE, and CMJ, fans and critics alike have been falling for the band. The Balconies have been garnering accolades from NOW Magazine, Hit the Floor, and Exclaim! just to name a few. A testament to their energetic live show, Soundproof Magazine went so far as to say, “The Balconies are a beast on stage…….a dramatic understatement. Their music reached out and bitch slapped the Horseshoe (in Toronto ON Canada) across their drunk faces, demanding attention.”
The band is looking forward to expanding its horizons on the road as a four-piece with new drummer Steve Molella. The Balconies aren’t satisfied standing still – they’re ready to do it bigger and better in support of their new CD Fast Motions. Recorded by legendary producer Arnold Lanni (Finger Eleven, Simple Plan, Our Lady Peace), Fast Motions is evidence of why The Balconies are one of Canada’s best new rock and roll acts. With lead single “The Slo” released earlier this year and receiving heavy rotation across Canada and the UK (plus a featured performance by the band on CBC Television police drama ‘Cracked’), they have a lot to live up to. The band does not disappoint – their trademark brand of visceral rock courses through Fast Motions. Sweaty, grinding rhythms have never felt this good – Jacquie’s explosive vocals and furious fretwork, Liam’s cascading atmospheric waves, Stephen’s thick, driving bass lines, and Steve’s quaking rhythms are set to seek and destroy.
Upon listening to this CD for the first time, one thing is evident – this band has the potential to become a huge success. Beloved in their grass roots of Ottawa and their adopted home of Toronto, they follow bands like Metric, Mother Mother and The Belle Game to name a few, into commercial success not only here in Canada but all over the world.
The track listing for the CD is as follows:
1. Boys and Girls
2. I Know You’re Right
3. Good and Ugly
4. Moving Parts
5. The Slo
6. Kill Count
7. Beating Your Heart
8. Fast Motions
9. Do It In the Dark
10. Let Me Go
Starting out with the high energy “Boys and Girls” this song is catchy, has a great hook and has a flowing melody through the entire life of the song at 3:39. This song has great harmonies as well, and is so damn likeable that I’m dancing mentally with the band. Musically, this song is a great opener. It sets the pace for the rest of the songs. Lyrically, I find that its a current description of people in general. Boys and girls. Get up and get into the song! It’s almost like an anthem.
“I Know You’re Right” is another high energy song that speaks of life on the road as a touring band. It has a soft melody at its core but the band builds up the music to a frantic pace and brings it back down again, crashing into a finale. This song is as good as it gets for this reviewer.
Jumping ahead to the song that brought The Balconies into the forefront, “The Slo” is disjointed, crazy and out of tune in spots – a perfect frenzy if that’s possible within a song. Jacquie’s vocals are piercing in a pleading kind of way, expressing emotions that belong behind closed doors, giving it some kind of mystique. Heavy guitars in minor keys give the song a foreboding feeling. It’s no wonder this song exploded and the band became known by this song. Very well done!
The last song “Let Me Go” is a total departure from the rest of the songs on the CD. It’s slow, seductive and haunting. No pounding drums or guitars are evident on this song but there is great harmony with the keyboards and Jacquie’s emotionally strained vocals. Mostly in minor keys the song slowly fades into nothing as the CD comes to an end.
I have to say that this is a body of work that hopefully will be short listed to win the Polaris Prize. This CD is filled with frenzied emotion, heady music played extremely well and really good harmonies and melodies. The CD is well crafted and recorded by Arnold Lanni who puts his mark on this promising band.
Currently the band is doing a mini tour which includes the following dates:
Feb. 13 @ Ebar, GUELPH, ON (w/ Say Yes)
Feb. 14 @ Moustache Club, OSHAWA, ON (w/ Say Yes)
Feb. 15 @ Two Doors Down, BRANTFORD, ON
Feb. 20 @ Casbah, HAMILTON, ON (w/ Say Yes) *tickets
Feb. 21 @ The Dominion House, WINDSOR, ON (w/ Say Yes)
Feb. 22 @ Sanctuary, RIDGEWAY, ON (w/ Say Yes)
Video – The Balconies – The Slo.