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Ballet School – The Dew Lasts An Hour

Ballet SchoolWe did not know what to make of Berlin-based three piece Ballet School last January at Eurosonic. The band’s hyperactive singer Rosie Blair scared us with her undirected joy. Guitarist Michel Collet seemed a goth guitarist who had accidentally stepped onto the wrong stage. Drummer Louis McGuire tried to keep things in sync, but there was little unity in the band and Collet even stopped playing before the overly loud performance was over. Despite all this confusion I picked up two or three tunes that kept ringing in my mind and had me look up the band on Spotify. Since then melancholic disco gems like Heartbeat Overdrive and All Thing Return At Night have me looking forward to the band’s full length debut with great anticipation. It will be released tomorrow and is more excentric than I had hoped for, as well as more coherent. I you have ever wondered what the Cocteau Twins would have sounded like if produced by Giorgio Moroder, then The Dew Lasts An Hour provides you with a possible answer. Even if you’ve had better things to wonder about should give it a go.

Half of the 12 songs on The Dew Lasts An Hour have been circulating on the net for some time. Most of these have been remixed for the album, with more emphasize put on electronics and less on Collet’s appealing shoegazey guitar. It helps the older songs fit in with the lounge club-friendly new material, even though individual they’ve become less powerful. (The album version of Heartbeat Overdrive I consider to be nothing short of a mistake and it will immediately be replaced by the single version in my playlist of the album.) Advanced single Lux, released last month, was the first forebode that the album might be more ethereal than preceding singles suggested. To file The Dew Lasts An Hour under dreampop, however, would not do justice to the vigor and variance of the band’s sound and Blair’s singing in particular. Regardless of the amount of unnecessary spherical aesthetics they might be wrapped in, there’s a striking severity in almost every song on the album. One of the exceptions is the instrumental opener Slow Dream, which made me decide to do a piece on instrumental openers. They bug the hell out of me.

Ballet School’s appeal is a persistent undertone of camp, allowing them to play everything from girl band-ish indie pop like Pale Saint, with Blair doing a pretty good Tegan and Sarah impression, to sultry 90s dance pop ballads like Gray and Crush , without running the risk of ever sounding mainstream. Blair has the same quirky attraction that rocketed slightly odd underground divas like Róisín Murphy and Gwen Stefani and into stardom. Chances of this happening to Ballet School are smaller than the band being picked up by people, who just like me, hearing some wistful echoes of the indie disco, in which we used to dance to The Sundays, 10.000 Maniacs and the bloody Smiths again. I’m not sure whether The Dew Lasts An Hour is a compromise or a symbiosis between these two traditions. Without being a disappointment in any way, Ballet School’s debut shows that they still can do a lot better.

Merchandise – After The End

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Here's one for the year lists, well mine anyway. The fourth album by Tampan band Merchandise combines the meandering sprawl of The War On Drugs with the cathartic gloom of early Smiths. After The End is an album of dense instrumentations, complex … [Continue reading]

Sun Kil Moon – Benji

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My first introduction to the music of Mark Kozelek dates back to the year 2000 with the release of his solo debut the EP Rock 'N Roll Singer. Especially the outstanding hushed AC/DC covers impressed me enough to look into Kozeleks past discography. … [Continue reading]

Last Enola Gay Crewman dies

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Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, the last living crewman of The Enola Gay, the plane that dropped first atomic bomb, died this Monday at 93. Coincidentally this Fuzz reviewer visited the impressive Pearl Harbor memorial on O'ahu, Hawaii two days earlier. … [Continue reading]

Polock – Rising Up

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When in Spain I like to honor two traditions. The first one involves eating large quantities of jamon Serrano, the second is going down to FNAC to buy the latest Jarabe de Palo album. When I was there in 2010 and the great man had no new album out, I … [Continue reading]

Popstrangers – Fortuna

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We start our biennial catching up with great releases we missed or unjustly ignored in the last six months of the year with Fortuna by Auckland's Popstrangers. Listening to this album, that was released May 27th, will give Bloggers past a certain age … [Continue reading]

Eli-Mac – Dubstop

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The concept of a summer hit doesn't make much sense in a climate consisting of sunshine and 25+ temperatures all year round. Still, for us haoles it does and we nominate Eli-Mac's Dubstop without any hesitation. The song forms a perfect soundtrack … [Continue reading]

Cibo Matto – Hotel Valentine

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Picked up from Spin's must-hear-albums of the 1st half of 2014, the reunion album of this New York City-based Shibuya-kei outfit was released in February of this year. Until a few days ago I had never heard of the band formed in 1994 by two Japanese … [Continue reading]

Bruddah Iz

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I was just finishing my review on the excellent sophomore album by New Zealand's Popstrangers when I realized that it's kind of weird to be writing about music made 11.000 kilometers away, when so far I've paid no attention whatsoever to the music … [Continue reading]

BAR – Welcome To BAR

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Sometimes I suspect journalists of Holland's leading music magazine OOR of drafting the reviews of some of the less anticipated releases by creative cutting and pasting from the press notes, without actually listening to the album. OOR's review of … [Continue reading]