by Alex Monzel
Attention hipsters: don’t miss your chance to get to know this band before they’re popular. Meet Blackout Balter, an up and coming indie rock band from Cambridge, MA, who have just released their debut EP Twist And Bend. Initially discovered by The Killers’ Dave Keuning (who is actually featured on half of the EP’s tracks), Blackout Balter has since been given that lucky break you think only exists in movies.
By the end of the first track, “Marionette,” it becomes quite evident what initially caught Keuning’s attention. The instrumentation is entrancing. Philip Cohen and Misha Costandov truly know how to get the most out of their instrument. “Goodbye Cambridge” continues to rouse with insightful lyrics and the idiosyncratic mixture of synth and cello (played by Keuning).
Complementing this solid foundation is the clever and distinct production value. Produced by Robert Root, whose credits include The Killers, Imagine Dragons, and Engelbert Humperdinck, Twist And Bend manages to fit squarely in the indie/ alternative rock genre while still establishing its own identity within the larger scene.
My largest critique with this record is the choruses. Choruses are often referred to as hooks, but that is exactly what Twist And Bend’s fail to do: it cannot fully hook your attention. The unique chord progressions, production value, and song structure are all wasted when the most prevalent portion of the song is forgettable. The strange, perceptive, and strangely perceptive lyrics do not have a match in their accompanying melody.
That being said, however, it’s been my experience that the second album is usually the best. While I wasn’t entirely amazed at this EP, it is still rather impressive for a debut effort. I’m thrilled to have gotten in on the ground floor for what could be a great band, and I’m excited to see what they come up with next.