Staples is BaLonely’s second full-length album. The band is comprised of Cody Brooks (drums), Kristin Robbins (bass), Norman Robbins (guitar/vocal), Adam Smith(guitar) and Alex Smith (guitar). The band has stated, “Following their debut Stories the band wanted to make an album that was more than a collection of songs. The album has motifs and connections between every song via lyrics, rhythms and sounds. The concept is to show respect to the music that lingers in one’s life, while attempting to be a staple itself.”
I very much tout that I personally prefer a cohesive quality to an album. There is something a complete artistic vision throughout an album does to me that is more powerful than any particular song. The phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” comes to mind.
I was a little concerned reading that this is a collection of songs but in fact this felt like a very cohesive release. The basic underlying genre is “indie rock.” On that note I found this to be very catchy indie rock not unlike The Shins or Spoon. There is also a very faint jazz feel to some of the songs which reminded me of one of my favorite groups The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group who doesn't get enough credit.
The album starts with “Staples” and the mood is fun and light. There is a good groove with a guitar melody that brings to mind a band like The Strokes. On this song there is some this mix of singing and talking. It works and is full of attitude.
“Brain Vacation” is a minute-and-a-half but no filler. The vocal harmonies hark back to The Beach Boys with surf rock which seemed to an ingredient on this song. There is a mellow vibe on ”Left Behind” veering more into the mood of The Velvet Underground. He even sounds a bit like Lou Reed on this song. That slight jazz flavor I was referring to makes itself known on ‘Running Dry” which is a highlight and a very catchy song.
They go into a psychedelic funk and it was hard for another band not to come to mind on this song - Of Montreal. “The Riff” is a pretty straightforward indie rock track. “Why Can't We Go?” revisits the vibe of “Left Behind” but with different textures and tones.
The song ”Listen” brings about a more pensive and melancholy mood while “Lost In Your Mind” is fun power pop. They have some more success with “Best of You” and the a cappella “Brain Reprise.” They close with the eight-plus-minute “Momma Said /I'm Just a Dreamer.” I loved the glockenspiel.
This is a great album with top notch songwriting. Take a listen.
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