The title of Gloom Balloon‘s newest album is as good of a descriptor of it as anything: You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Disaster/Fix the Sunshine Pts 1-7 (An Ode to Bill Doss). From chamber pop swirls to hints of avant-garde, the record is a smattering of styles that cascade together in a particularly odd way. It might be best described as an out-of-this-world-feel-good record, combining strangeness with an everyday feel.
Even though Gloom Balloon is a two-(or three-)piece, they sound more like a collective. The string arrangements on the title track––the first half of the title, that is––are wonderfully classical and meld well with the vocals, reminiscent of old movie soundtracks. Borrowing a partial melodic hook from the Shirelles, the song is airy and eclectic. This retro vibe continues throughout the album, from the assorted noises that begin “A California Demise, Through Bloodshot Eyes” to the hectic bounce of “Will C., You, Cut Me Like A Matisse.” The strings tie the album together, though there is no apparent consistency. This isn’t a bad thing for Gloom Balloon, a project that suggests the barriers of music don’t really matter. Though the songs clock in at an average of two minutes, lack of substance isn’t an issue. Something about the terse time in which the songs live makes the songs more lively.
What really works for Gloom Balloon––or doesn’t, depending on your opinion––is the foreign juxtaposition of Baroque strings and folky vocals that seem more spoken than sung at times. It feels like listening to a poetry performance at some points, and at others a mashed up scene of Victorian party with guests like Rivers Cuomo. Youthful themes run amok, from the Cusackian lyrics of the title track to the short-lived “Summer Youth and Summer Fervor,” an acoustic ditty that encapsulates the summer before college. Overall, the band sounds like Andrew Bird and a slam poet got together and had an all-night session on a four track, and that’s not bad at all. While it may not be for everyone, those who can hone in on their inner obscure listener will enjoy the record.
MP3: Gloom Balloon “Will C., You, Cut Me Like A Matisse”