Are you looking for an album that upon your first listen makes you say, “Wow, this is simply beautiful?” If so, Balladero’s Balladero Club Deuce is going to make you very, very happy. This is a well composed, flowing album that hooks you from the very beginning and keeps you entranced to the very end.
The album kicks off with the swinging song “PAWNSHOP”, a deeply layered track that changes theme and time signature effortlessly. The song structure is surprisingly simple, given how complex the different instrument parts are. You also are introduced to the male vocals, which are very soothing and fit the lyrical content perfectly.
The next track, “I GUESS”, offers the next glimpse of why this album can be declared ‘beautiful’. The piano cascade in the beginning is spine tingling. It’s worth noting that the piano is a large focal point of this album, playing a large part in the breathtaking song “LIONESS” and adding a fun, plucky character to “Shallow Creeks.” The true talent of the pianist is realized in the final track, “PREKMURSKA”, a track worthy of any high-class union club lounge.
As prefaced, the composition is well done, and “DREAM COME LIE” is one of those songs that really showcase this with a slow, deep and deliberate sound. There is something very earworm-y about the particular chords and harmony of this song; I found myself humming along and adding my own melodies just a minute or two in. I also liked the bass in here particularly because the rhythm stands out more than in other songs. Another soulful, but more bluesy track is “SHADOW STREET.” I love the accompanying vocals and the half step chord progressions here – they cast a thoughtful shadow over the song.
The intricacies in sound don’t stop with the soul or catchy rhythms. “CE BI (Ce bi/If Only)” features very strong, amazing female vocals that are the perfect counterpart to the male vocals featured previously. What gives this song an additional kick is the fact that it’s sung in a different language. Keeping with the exotic sense, “MONSTERS” has a nice tango beat and I like the female vocals here again, as they add a new dimension of attitude and flair that sounds great with the saucy beat.
The album is just over an hour long, so it’s definitely an investment of time (though a worthwhile one). There are a few tracks that seem a bit repetitive; but one can appreciate the overall composition of those as well, and they do add a nice flavor to the album as a whole. All in all, this is a really creative, impressive piece of musicianship and is quite a testament to the acumen of Dominik Bagola and his ability to make fresh, well-crafted art. If you’re looking for something new that will take your breath away, this is definitely an album to lend a listen to.
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