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Album Reviews, Music

Album Review: Toronto Rockers The Balconies Find Their Sound on “Fast Motions”

By: Krista Hessey –

The Balconies are hungry. After extensive touring throughout Europe and North America with their six-track Kill Count EP, the quartet—with the recent addition of Steve Molella to the original trio—has released their debut album Fast Motions.

Fast Motions has proven that The Balconies are serious. Their Kill Count EP released in the summer of 2012 acts as a reminder of the band’s youth and evidence of how much they have developed in the past year. Catchy pop songs defined Kill Count with some head-banging strays that seemed entirely out-of-place. Fast Motions as a whole derives off a unanimous energetic rocker style; a sound that is emblematic of the band’s full potential.

Jacquie Neville’s vocals gather a new strength when accompanied by sibling Stephen Neville on bass, Liam Jaeger on guitar and newcomer Steve Molella on drums.  Punchy rock breaks, heavy percussion, and Jacquie’s electrifying vocals drive the album, a sheer sign that the band is looking to part with their early indie rock roots and adopt a more heavy ‘80s metal flair.

The Balconies are writing songs about heavy hearts, dangerous games, cigarettes, and sex. The album kicks off with the energetic “Boys and Girls” with booming bass chords and thrashing guitar riffs between Jacquie’s fast paced chant; “All the other Boys talkin’ talk/ talking about cigarettes and sex”. During the mid-point of the album, The Balconies wind down, introducing promising bass drum-heavy songs such as “Kill Count” (taken from the Kill Count EP) and “Beating Your Heart” which allow for rhythmic downtempo moments where Jacquie’s voice resonates. In “The Slo”, the album’s first single, Stephen’s somber bass chords are echoed by a light keyboard trickle as Jacquie’s voice softens into a haunting falsetto before the chorus’ climax creates an addictive sound that blooms in one perfectly timed moment.

The album ties off with Jacquie’s brooding whispers in “Let Me Go” enhanced by drawn out bass-drum hits and a single lingering whistle, ending the album in a whole other place from where it started.

The best songs on the album derive from emotive intensity; from Jacquie’s strained voice in “The Good and Ugly”, to the dissonant breaks of “The Slo”, to the slow-burning album closer “Let Me Go”. The Balconies show promise in their range and diversity; commanding attention with bursting rock and roll intensity and punchy chorus’ while slyly deepening the hook as that energy that simmers into brooding slow jams. This album is for those whose heads yearn to bob and whose hearts burn fervently.

Fast Motions will be released on January 28th via Coaliton Music.

Essential Tracks: “The Good and Ugly”, “The Slo”, and “Boys and Girls”

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