I’ve got to say that I don’t know much about SILICON BALLET (the press document won’t open on my crappy laptop!) other than the fact that they are from Belgium and I believe are a side-project of the excellent SHOWSTAR, whose excellent track ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ was reviewed on LOUD HORIZON last year. It would appear that the band comprises about ten members, if the list of those playing in their first show is anything to go by.
And that possibly shouldn’t come as a surprise, judging from the full and fresh sound on the six-track ‘Utopia’ EP.
There is a fair degree of ‘orchestration’ surrounding these tracks, and yet they still come across more ‘arty’ in nature than some middling AOI (Adult Orientated Indie) band. (Just made that one up … I didn’t really want to use the words ‘Arcade Fire’ because I actually quite like them!) What results is a nice ‘clean’ sound, but one that is not so ‘clean’ as to become ‘sterile’ – far from it!
All six tracks are excellent, but three in particular are outstanding:
‘Victory’ opens the EP. The repetitive singular guitar note aids some quietly assertive drumming whilst the vocals are nicely harmonised and hushed. It’s all fresh and airy but the chords take a brief dark turn in the chorus when mention is made of ‘ … the devil in you will have you to go through guilty pleasures.’
I’m so glad the band have decided that the EP’s promotional video should be represented by ‘Sunglasses.’ For me, this is the best track of the six. I won’t say too much since you can hear it for yourself at the end of this review. What I will say however is that it instantly reminded me of London-based French band Underground Railroad and their ‘Poems For Freaks’ track. But I for one ain’t complaining. I just love the way the discord all fits so naturally with the dark cello.
The EP’s closing track is ‘Spectrals.’ It starts out lightly and innocently enough with a kind of rolling drum rhythm and chiming guitars, but soon turns a bit eerie in the same sort of way as The Specials did with ‘Ghost Town. It sounds nothing like it – just the ‘atmosphere’ and feeling of desolation hints at the same vibe. And to make it even creepier, there is the chilling incorporation of the sound of a fairground organ piping away too.
Of the others, title track ‘Utopia’ is the shortest, running to just over two minutes of instrumental. It sounds very much like it was written for a movie soundtrack – with a particularly spine-tingling scene in mind!
‘Stella Fade Out’ is more along the lines of the opener in that it more commercial in its composition, again with nicely harmonised vocals and this time featuring the hook of violin together with the ‘plink plink’ of keyboards depicting the sound of falling rain … in my head at least.
‘Different Class’ is along the same lines – its upbeat, melodic but with added violin becomes a bit dramatic in places. It is one of those songs that sort of washes over you as you listen …. but somehow gets into your head without your noticing and repeats itself endlessly as you lie in bed trying to fall asleep!
Yeah – I like this. I like it a lot!
Right now, I’m off to find out more about SILICON BALLET.
(Released through Rainboot and available now via I-Tunes and other download sites)