Wednesday 5 March 2014

Balthazar - Leipzig

Single review by

Since their splendid chamber-pop album 'Rats' which we reviewed exactly a year ago, it's been a busy time for Belgians Balthazar. The initial assumption that the album was a real grower proved correct, and soon enough singles such as 'The Oldest Of Sisters' and 'Do Not Claim Them Anymore' had begun to sound mightily impressive. In promotion of the album, the band played 123 shows across Europe in 2013, which is an impressive work rate. It seemed like they were finally getting a foothold in the UK too, having sold out a couple of London dates and pulled in some glowing reviews from the mainstream press. We're not suggesting that Balthazar should in any way commercialise their sound to try and capitalise on this, but it seemed like a good idea to keep the momentum going while they were still hot property.

This they have done, and despite all those nights on the road (a tour with Editors helped spread their sound a bit further), they're back with new material already. What's more, new single 'Leipzig' doesn't need those repeat plays, you get it first time. The repeat plays will still occur, but that's simply because songs such as this almost demand them. Whether or not this is down to having gained a familiarity with their sound rather than a song that's genuinely more instant is probably a question best answered by those new to the band. But the more uptempo, surging style of this haunting number does feel more accessible, without sacrificing any of their style to become so. Now that Arcade Fire have headed off in a different direction, those looking for something more alternative should find much reward here.

Balthazar's website

Buy the single

Catch them live:

Mar 29 Roxy, Istanbul, Turkey
Apr 08 L'Aéronef, Euralille, France
Apr 16 Schüür, Lucerne, Switzerland
Apr 17 Amalgame, Yverdon, Switzerland
Apr 18 Kinski, Zurich, Switzerland

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