by Cassie Wilson
Unsigned, indie-rock band, Blackout Balter, surely won’t be unsigned for long with the release of their debut EP, Twist and Bend.
After listening to the EP for the first time, I wanted to know more about this band, so I turned to their website where I learned that lead vocalist and guitarist, Phil Cohen, connected with Dave Keuning of The Killers. Keuning, loving Blackout Balter’s demos, got them into the studio with Robert Root to record Twist and Bend and even played guitar on two of their songs, and cello on another.
Blackout Balter has the old-school, indie-rock feel that fans of Catfish and the Bottlemen would love. Twist and Bend’s first track, “Marionette,” begins with a bass line that suggests something big is impending, and what awaits is a chorus that will make every listener want to dance. The band’s dance-worthy tunes fit their name well because balter means ‘to dance clumsily.’ Every track on this EP is perfect for letting loose with friends.
One of my favorite things about Blackout Balter is how they allow keys and bass their own time to shine like in the second track, “Goodbye Cambridge.” There’s more quirks to hear as Twist and Bend continues with “Everything Becomes Mechanical.” For the first part of the song, vocalist, Phil Cohen, sounds futuristic and mechanical which works unexpectedly well with their sound. Drums and keys keep the song pushing forward, and it feels like it ends much more quickly than its true length of nearly four minutes.
All 23 minutes of this record are addicting. Tracks four and five are Blackout Balter’s best songs to date, and Dave Keuning plays guitar in both. “Hello Operator” gives listeners a strong introduction to the voice of bassist, Amelia Gormley, and how well it pairs with that of Cohen. ‘Hello operator I’ve been here before, take the elevator to another floor’ is the line that I consistently have stuck in my head after listening to Twist and Bend.
Following “Hello Operator” is another vocally impressive track titled, “Heavy Hand.” This was the first song that I heard from Blackout Balter, and it still blows me away every time I come to it on the EP. It sounds like a song that would be on mainstream radio, and it’s the song that assured me that this band is going to get big. On top of that, it has a short but sweet guitar solo near the end of it.
Blackout Balter’s debut EP, Twist and Bend, wraps up with “Edison,” which is their most guitar-heavy song on the record, but is balanced out with Misha Kostandov on keys. The EP ends with the same high energy that it built up in the beginning, and makes Twist and Bend a very solid debut release.
I look forward to seeing where this EP will take the band, and hearing how they continue to grow their sound to even greater heights. Click here to twist, bend and dance to the full EP.