Parisian indie-pop fivesome Balbec recently released their third album Two Sides To Every Story. It’s a double album split into mini-albums titled Myth Of Truth and Truth Of Myth. The quirky, captivating album was produced by Ryan Morey and Alex Mazarguil, who have worked with Arcade Fire and Gentle Republic respectively. European pop always has a certain kooky charm to it and Balbec are a band that ooze strange and wonderful sound.
The new album gets its name from a town in Normandy referenced by classic French novelist Marcel Proust in his most famous work In Search Of Lost Time. With an already cultured beginning, the album takes on an arty, intricate form that has earned it comments from music site Echoes and Dust such as:
Beginning with Echoes Of A Dead Heart, a simple drum and blues guitar track. An eerie wailing emanates from the instruments which includes a singing riff. The quirky kicks in right away with a disturbance over the instrumental and then lapsing into a funky pop guitar with a cool indie ending. It drifts into Governed By The Sun, which has a dirty vocal with a firm aggression coupled with a tricky guitar and quirky harmonies.
The dark, eerie, barely-there vocal is first introduced on Doubts. A kooky arty song with a whispering female vocal set to another bluesy guitar. It dies down before transforming unexpectedly into a mellow riff and drum beat with a melodic vocal. It’s almost like a physical changing from darkness to light. This spooky wailing vocal is something that keeps cropping up on the record with outings on the slow bluesy Crestfallen, the heavier rocky Architecture Of Faith and the quirky beautiful Dogma.
Kooky harmonies are something that this album is littered with. Latitudes and Longitudes is a combination of the soft female vocal and an angsty punk shout from the male. It’s such an unpredictable track that seems to twist and turn. This punk streak continues on In The Hay which again clashes the voices in a strange but effective way. Herd By The Horns also has a quirky harmony that accompanies another blues based style.
The indie flair is most prominent on Ready To Be King with its catchy melody and solid beat. There is also a hint of British indie on the vocals on Drastic where they’re coupled with a funky guitar and steady drum, which doles out a catchy beat. It comes through again on Helpless which has a rolling screeching riff throughout which gives way to a heavier alternative section in the middle.
Touching on a number of genres, there are even slight country hints on Crestfallen and final track Ode To Joy. The final track is the epitome of the album as it includes the eerie pop vocal, catchy toe-tapping rhythm and a quieter whispering towards the end, which culminates in fast strumming. Dramatic and the perfect round-off to the record.
Balbec do touch on so many styles and they have a very unique sound. Creative, unusual patterns in their song structures are what characterises them and they’re very playful, intriguing artists. They’re all about evoking feelings and emotions and clashing them together in ways you’ve probably not heard before.