Within the huge synth opening of Welcoming Party, the first song on Balloon Ride Fantasy’s all new six song extended play BRF, we get an idea of just how big a picture the Pittsburgh quintet intends on painting for us over the course of the next few tracks, and judging from the shimmering frills and suffocating wall of sound that instantly rips us asunder into the opulently spacey world of their aesthetic, it’s going to be a more than ambitious undertaking.
These initial instincts are proven true over and over as we make our way through the progressive sonic journey that BRF really is, and by the time we get through our first listen of this EP, it’s abundantly clear that if there’s a new big name in the indie pop game, it’s Balloon Ride Fantasy.
Merging dreamy vocals and thick musical harmonies isn’t a completely new concept, but there’s no debating that the way BRF interprets the captivating crunch of shoe-gaze is dramatically different than any of their contemporaries have dared to try. Balloon Ride Fantasy are a pop band, but they employ such an artsy, existential approach to laying tracks in the studio that it’s easy to forget that the origin of their existence is anything other than five stewards of an ancient craft coming together to preserve its dignity and integrity as a new generation crusades forward in search of progressive sounds different than the ones that they inherited from their elders.
Human Bird has got to be one of the darkest and grittiest neo-house tracks that I’ve ever heard in my life, and the way the track swings back and forth between pop gloss and the mischievous swagger of the left-field underground is a jarring yet beautiful collage of violence in audio.
In a sense, you could say that Balloon Ride Fantasy know how to channel 80’s grooves better than anyone else in the business outside of cover bands, and that while their sound can be somewhat retrospective in nature, they manage to give a lot of classic tones a very modern makeover, perhaps making their boxy, more angular qualities a bit more accessible to the average, mainstream music listener looking to get into pop that weighs a little heavier than what most of us find when browsing over the white noise on FM radio.
If I were a betting man, I’d definitely put my money on this coming decade being heavily influenced by the same formulas that Balloon Ride Fantasy and other no wave revivalist bands hold in such high regard. When you think about it, you could do a lot worse than music that celebrates the feedback and textured grooves that can evoke all of the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up with the single strumming of a deep bass note. If you can’t wait a moment longer to know what the future is going to sound and feel like, I’d recommend you check out BRF the next time you’re in the market for new music. I have a strong feeling you won’t regret it.