Cambridge Massachusetts band Blackout Balter have just released their EP entitled Twist and Bend and consists of six songs which shows promise as a group.
“Heavy Hand” opens with a screechy guitar and lead singer Philip Cohen’s crisp voice cutting through like a knife singing “God only knows the message you showed me.” As with most songs on the album the track has its finger on the pulse of what is relevant and modern and is begging to be played on top 40 radio. Blackout Balter knows exactly how to craft a song with meaning but that is still infectious and downright catchy. It’s the type of tune that is hard to get out of your head after the first listen, the verses and chorus equally memorable and holding good melodies. It’s one of the standout moments on the record.
As a closer to the EP “Edison” starts off with a dirtier, harder edge guitar opening, but it quickly finds itself in a space where the band can do what it does best. It’s pure energy and Cohen gives a nonstop adrenaline shot to the tune, with his blazing and vivacious vocals. The instrumentals are peppy and will be sure to have lots of heads bopping as it’s the perfect dance song. There’s a slight retro element to the song, almost surf rock in its execution, and hand claps dispersed throughout also help to create a throwback vibe. Perfect for the summertime, “Edison” is downright the type of tune that one can’t help but smile when listening to. Well done, Blackout Balter.
The best track on the EP is the opener “Marionette.” It has a 90s alternative feel but also is firmly cemented in modern music. There’s a minimal instrumental approach here on the verses, only a backbeat to accompany Cohen, and it works because Cohen has such an attack and attitude on the tune that he clearly becomes the star of the song. The chorus is magnificent and straddles that modern but retro feel perfectly and it sounds like no other song on the album which showcases the many hats that Blackout Balter wears during the EP.
With three strong tunes on the record, it’s a bit of a shame that the remaining tracks don’t hold up as well. “Goodbye Cambridge” doesn’t have much of a hook when it comes to the chorus even though the verses sit well. Autotune seems to be used on “Everything Becomes Mechanical” which makes sense with the title, but knowing that Cohen has such a pure voice this reviewer can’t help but wince hearing his voice toyed with, no matter how intentional. Meanwhile “Hello Operator” just isn’t memorable when put up against far superior songs on the EP.
Still Blackout Balter showcase that they have a lot of talent and much to offer the music world, and this reviewer can’t wait to see where the band goes from here.