The John Barry Conception
With an intriguing name like Ballyhack Pitzer, I pre-emptively decided I was going to either completely dislike or love this record. Unfair, I know; it's ignorant to be that prejudice. Luckily for me, The John Barry Conception completely blew the lid off of what a modern experimental folk record could, or should be. Like a good metal solo, it melted my face off.
The amount of wonder and excitement I felt was palpable, like adding baking soda to vinegar when you're seven years old. I was baffled, conflicted, but contented all at once. The level of experimentation that went into Ballyhack is astounding. Pulled apart, it is nothing more than a large collection of stringed instruments, guitars, and percussion running all different directions at one time. Together, these instruments create a blissful cacophony.
Running at longer lengths, each song presents itself in a very satisfying manner. The listener is given a total introduction, build ups and breaks, variation, and a fair goodbye. It's kind of like meeting strangers at a party only populated by the most interesting people ever. From the banjo strummed "The Far and Few" to the overly complicated melodies of "Back Pain pt. II" and "Constantino's Waltz", not only is immense talent obvious, but so is a keen ear for extreme detail and compatible discord.
The album is opened and closed with two beautiful and ironically simple instrumentals, safeguarding the organized confusion within, and as it draws to an end I'm still reeling with excitement from what I've just heard. The awesome power and imaginative spirit of Ballyhack Pitzer is the redefining of a genre and the reminder that music should always feel this inspiring and provocative.
Turn Your Love Up
Turn Your Love Up, a contemporary folk album written by lovely Queensland duo Laneway, is a poetic examination of romance and all that surrounds it. Laden with metaphors and spearheaded by darker lyrics, Turn Your Love Up is honest, beautiful, and heartfelt.
Louise O'Reilly and Paul Hannan are Laneway, and together they have delivered 10 original, pop infused darker folk songs. A loose blend of country and alt rock create the foundation for the songs, incorporating very delicious melodies and guitar parts. Being both gritty and delicate, the songs appeal to a wide audience. The two voices are tied in a near constant harmony and float effortlessly.
The West Coast, pop rock feel of "Waiting for An Avalanche" mixed with the twangy country jangle of "Simple Life" set a decent example of how diverse this album is. The directions taken are unexpected and fun. Mostly set at a danceable mid-tempo beat, the changes in mood and feel are like night and day. I wish, however, that there was a little more adhesion between the songs. But I suppose in this case you get a really great taste for their music and what they enjoy putting out. Their assorted sounds are refreshing in the sense that the album never becomes dull or boring.
Turn Your Love Up is definitely worth looking up in my opinion. It's an interesting listen without straying too far away from the familiar comforts of pop while still remaining fun, original, and beautiful.