Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Cerebral Ballzy - 'Jaded And Faded'
The US punks' second album may have taken three years to arrive, but it's worth the wait
From the moment ‘Jaded & Faded’ busts out of your speakers, it's plain that forays into the avant garde will be scant. Opener ‘Another Day’ might signify a new era, but it’s the same old Ballzy, even if it runs much longer than most of the songs on their debut, clocking in at a mighty two minutes and 27 seconds. It commences with a lone, funereal guitar line, before everything kicks in violently, barely letting up until the sinewy last refrain of the album. There are still plenty of ‘Speed Wobbles’ (1:08) for the stringent punk purist, while ‘Lonely As America’ (prog-like at 3:12) and the Ramones-esque ‘Better In Leather’ are full of those aforementioned heightened melodies. It’s little wonder Casablancas has called Ballzy “the coolest band in the world at the moment”, because these mini-epics are the catchiest tunes of their career to date (and thankfully their juggernaut is too cumbersome to veer disastrously into vapid pop punk territory).
Having TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek on board to produce doesn’t hurt. Although, here he surely has nothing to do other than hit play/record and then recline and marvel at Ballzy’s pulverising menace. That and Honor’s cool-as-fuck drawl, as nonchalantly classy as any legendary showperson you might care to mention.
Perhaps best of all, though, is that title. ‘Jaded & Faded’ strikes a fine balance between self-deprecation and the supreme confidence needed to get away with suggesting you've had your chips. But there's no second album syndrome here. It whoops ass.
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