Blackout Balter's "Twist and Bend"
This Killers* produced, refreshing alt pop-punk release from Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Blackout Balters is packed with catchy choruses and guitar riffs you will find yourself craving days later after your first listen. Yes, there is an asterisk there… allow me elaborate. After hearing Blackout Balter’s demo recordings, Killers’ guitarist Dave Keuning called upon the band to record in their very own Battle Born Studios under producer Robert Root.
The EP begins with a bouncy bass riff and a kick drum. “Marionette,” fits perfect as an introduction, by giving you a quick tour of everything you’ll find in the next few tracks. The angelically haunting “ooohs” are something significant to this track however, giving it just a tad more depth and feeling. The vocals tie in just right with the building guitars and simple touch of synth, until we find ourselves back at it with the bass and kick drum skeleton. After a repeat of the pre-chorus, the song rebuilds with a seemingly (...Killers?) familiar synth riff hidden underneath a nostalgic pop-punk-esque climax circa 2000’s for the ending.
The third track, “Everything Becomes Mechanical” took a few plays to grow on me. My initial reaction to the robot effect on the vocals in the beginning was, “Okay, this is super cheesy.” Get past those feelings and into the super awesome futuristic guitar riffs and driving drum beat. It was also this song where the vocals clicked as way better executed when compared to the style of Neon Trees or the (yes, annoying) sound of Cage the Elephant. The breakdown is my favorite part, with the vocals alone and the addition of a guitars reminiscent of Julian Casablancas’ solo release, Phrases for the Young.
The last three tracks are just as satisfying as the first three, if you have enjoyed your ears so far. You can really pick up on the influences of each member as they portray their instruments. Bits and pieces of stadium guitars, punk rock simplicity on the drums, catchy but not too poppy vocals, keys and synth in all the right places and solid tasteful bass support throughout. Twist and Bend plays out as a solid debut release for a band you will most likely hear about playing your typical mid-sized indie music venue… until their next tour when they start selling out theaters. The EP is streaming exclusively on Consequence of Sound, and will be available at online retailers on July 8th, 2016.