Drawing on indie rock peers known for their ornateness and on others for the lack of word mincing -- from Grizzly Bear to the Arctic Monkeys -- Balthazar make sure they reference their influences' penchant for writing melodies and choruses, creating heart-throb pop music that recalls a verifiable golden era. Thin Walls was recorded with studied professional Ben Hillier, who has worked with Blur, and his production articulates articulation.
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If, like me, you kind of wish Alex Turner would have kept at his The Last Shadow Puppets side project going then you are going to love the opening track on this fourth album by this Belgian collective. It’s smooth, it’s cinematic, the vocals sound exactly like Alex Turner. If Balthazar do good impressions then they keep this up on ‘Then What’ which perfectly replicates the heartland rock of The National complete with Springsteen-ish whoops. It’s a strong, radio- friendly start.
They nod at The Walkmen on ‘Nightclub’ but ‘Bunker’ has the faux soul of the last Arctic Monkey’s album. It’s a strange album as almost every track sounds like a different band. They really don’t sound that Belgian either, more like a UK band who has been influenced by dusty Americana. It’s as commercial as a thump on the nose and even though it’s not really for me, I can imagine these songs drifting over the radio waves in coming months.
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