Balloon Ride Fantasy release EP
Someone asked me the other day if it was true that psychedelic rock had been dead since the end of the 1960’s. I thought it was a rather humorous question, but then again I often forget that not everyone is as into music as I am (I do get paid to write about this medium of art, after all). While a lot of mainstream music fans might be under the impression that psychedelia disappeared at the end of the 60’s along with the fashion and politics of the era, nothing could be any further from the truth. Psychedelia has been alive and well in the last fifty years of music, and while the majority of psych acts have been relegated to the underground and indie circles, the influence of the genre continues to persist in everything from hip-hop to electronica today. A half century ago, Jimi Hendrix basically changed the game when he started developing the project that would ultimately become Electric Ladyland. Hendrix, being the pioneer that he was, realized that the earthly limitations of a musician and his instrument could be transcended through the power of the studio and the developing technology of the 20th century. In other words, the studio was the last missing piece of the puzzle, the instrument that had never been exploited or employed to all of its epic potential. Electric Ladyland changed that, and in countless ways you can hear Pennsylvania rockers Balloon Ride Fantasy embarking on the same odyssey that Hendrix was in their new EP BRF, available everywhere indie music is sold this July.
When a band syncs together as tightly and nimbly as Balloon Ride Fantasy does on BRF, the product that comes as a result is one that instantly evokes emotion and a physical reaction from anyone within earshot. There’s a certain sexiness in the foggy, enigmatic production of the six sleekly arranged tracks on BRF, and although this extended play is jam packed full of juggernaut moments that were no doubt designed to illicit a lot of movement and shaking to the beat, I don’t know that Balloon Ride Fantasy set out to make a straight up dance record when they entered the studio this past year. Regardless of their intentions, songs like “Robots in Lust (Night Song)” are hard to stay stationary to and feature the kind of lush beats and rhythms that seem to come only once in an era and whose pedigree can never be replicated. We can feel all the yearning and contrast between the stressed vocal parts and intense instrumentation, and the juxtaposition is gorgeous and presented in the most visceral of settings.
I wasn’t very familiar with Balloon Ride Fantasy before listening to this latest disc, but I can absolutely say that I’ll be keeping a close eye on everything that this band is working on moving into the future. Bringing the mind bending harmonies of rich psychedelia back to the mainstream won’t be easy, but as long as they keep releasing music like that on BRF, I think this five piece is well on their way to reaching their goal on schedule.