Album Review: Cerebral Ballzy – ‘Cerebral Ballzy’

Album Review: Cerebral Ballzy - 'Cerebral Ballzy'


They turn DC-style sonic assaults into brutal party anthems

So, it turns out not everyone was thrilled by the rise of the kind of pop-punk favoured by [a]Blink-182[/a] and their many brethren. Or so it would seem listening to [a]Cerebral Ballzy[/a]’s self-titled debut album, an opening gambit that shreds the history of all those pretenders and turns the clock back to 1982, forcibly deleting the cargo-shorted from existence.

Hurtling into our consciousness at the tail end of last year with a divisive name of the kind hated by journos but that fans love to see in print, the Brooklyn-raised skaters have since made it their mission to kick, spit and scream through a series of life-affirming and brutally energetic shows.

But it’s not just pop-punk that [a]Cerebral Ballzy[/a] are attempting to erase from our minds. They’ve also done away with pretty much the entire New York music scene, post its CBGB heyday. Expunged from the record are all those artsy types like [a]Vampire Weekend[/a], [a]The Strokes[/a] and [a]Yeah Yeah Yeahs[/a], as if [a]Cerebral Ballzy[/a] want to remind us all that it’s within the grime of Brooklyn after dark that all the real fun happens.

And, hell, why not? It’s every generation’s right and duty to appoint its own Year Zero – and if that means resurrecting the ferocious snarl of early DC hardcore just to give it a good hard kicking in the gutter, then all the better. They certainly favour the high-speed visceral assault of Minor Threat and early [a]Black Flag[/a] across this brief, hungry album, and past comparisons to Bad Brains aren’t wholly off the mark if a little glib, considering [b]‘Cerebral Ballzy’[/b] doesn’t attempt any sort of dub crossover and frontman Honor Titus stops short of indulging in those bands’ political rhetoric.

This is a party band playing party music simply to skate and go wild at shows to. It’s a humble aim and the main theme of their album.

That’s not to say they’re not insightful or self-aware about their irreverence. “[i]Don’t wanna deal with the consequences/Of being young and reckless![/i]” yells Titus in the opening [b]‘On The Run’[/b], in regretful acknowledgement of the hangover to follow.

They’re most fun when they’re really letting loose, though, which is pretty much always. [b]‘Cutting Class’[/b] provides a fine ode to “[i]roaming the streets[/i]” during school hours, while the self-explanatory [b]‘Junkie For Her’[/b] (“[i]I can’t get enough of her![/i]”) and [b]‘Drug Myself Dumb’[/b] are sledgehammer-subtle, adrenalised blasts of raucous fury. Most importantly, [b]‘Cerebral Ballzy’[/b] is terrifyingly frivolous – it’s like a Daily Mail writer’s worst-nightmare vision of youth, only twice as angry. In other words, it’s the ideal soundtrack to wild abandon this summer.

Tom Edwards


Director: Joby J Ford
Record label: Cooking Vinyl
Release date: 07 Aug, 2011