“We’re less restless than before. Our souls have calmed down.”
Coming from BALTHAZAR’s Jinte Deprez, that’s quite a statement. But a calmed down soul doesn’t have to mean that the very isn’t able to produce something stunning and agitating. In the case of BALTHAZAR, the cool Belgian indie band whose debut album Applause sported “jittery postpunk-ish pop songs”, the change in mood can be perceived when listening to the new record ; it’s a clear advancement that the band can be proud of.
With the aforementioned cool hipster tag, BALTHAZAR had already left a permanent mark in the European indie milieu, back in 2010. Fantastic live shows, cheerful tunes, and positive feedback from many corners of the European mainland. But that was then and this is now. But don’t worry, nothing upsetting has happened since then. It’s just that the band has developed, in a good way as we believe. We at Nothing But Hope And Passion have the clear tendency to join peolpe on their explorations of the many facettes of life and we take pleasure in partaking in their results. And when Jinte and his partner in songwriting Maarten Devoldere have found a way to escape the shadowy sides of their souls on a beautiful new album, then we can only be highly pleased and impressed. They managed to overcome excessiveness, well, at least for a while. “Partying hard, having a couple too many, painting the town red . It doesn’t pay off in the end”, Jinte says. As the chorus of Joker’s Son, one of the standout tracks on the band’s second album Rats, goes: “A joker’s son / My coat’s somewhere around town / I never won but I rest assured that I can endure / the spinning.”
Having matured just like we have in the past two years, it’s now time for our five friends from Benelux to test their musical limits and bend their lyrical muscles. Time has proceeded, skills have enhanced, and the self-produced Rats summons up the essence of what BALTHAZAR has become – an established indie combo that has to give us meaningful music with all their hearts and souls. The new output’s heartwrenching melodies tell tales of unspoiled love and foolish desire. At its core are the band’s trademark vocal harmonies, drenched in quirky romantic textures. BALTHAZAR sway and swoon, from melancholic bossa grooves to euphoric waltzes. You’ll hear some stunning, sexy rhythm section and the kind of lush arrangements that whisper SCOTT WALKER’s name. Jinte and Maarten don’t shy away from their admiration for the classic songwriters. ”That’s the kind of poetry we really enjoy”. And we enjoy what they make out of it. Chills, goosebumps and sweet shivers.
Life’s but a journey, for each of us. And music can be there to help us finding our way through its ups and downs.
“You need to go through quite a lot of debauchery before you realize happiness is just around the corner, in the arms of the girl you love,”
Jinte says, heart on sleeve. We wonder if it could be all so simple. Well, that’s exactly what BALTHAZAR try to find out on their new album – so join them on their trip and enjoy the spinning.
indie / pop / rock
from Kortrijk / Ghent, Belgium