If you are anything like me, you probably assume that artwork will be a major indication of what a band will sound like. Often, it even can become one of the deciding factors on whether or not to check a new album out. Sometimes artwork can be deceiving, sometimes it gives the wrong impression. At first glance, the art for Ballroom’s debut 12” EP had me expecting something akin to hardcore, potentially even grind. Fit with the depictions of burning buildings and a mass of (what appear to be rioting) people, it has that chaotic, scribbly nature that is so popular in both aforementioned genres. But, as you can hear, Ballroom isn’t that. While they don’t fit neatly into any subgenres, chaotic is perhaps the best description for their sound. Feedback and discordant, noodlely guitar work is the defining feature, but, at the same time, their sound has an almost hypnotic aspect that is produced from the repetitious nature of their rhythm section. The two styles, which seem oppositional, result in a kind of contained disorder. Layered with vocals that are more shouting than screaming, the EP is the kind of fuzzy, noisy rock that you’ve come to expect from ever/never records. It is refreshing to hear heavy sounding guitar work that isn’t predicated on the use of massive amounts of gain. Ballroom, instead, allows their bass to really form a great deal of the low end, with their guitars emerging with a brighter, twangier vibe.
I guess you can say that Ballroom is sort of a noise-punk ‘super group,’ featuring members of Woman, DeGreaser, The Busy Signals, and Home Blitz. At the risk of falling into the trend of hyping bands based on their formed projects, for what it is worth, it is safe to say that if you like any of these groups there will be something for you in this EP. At 26 minutes, this six song EP manages to be extremely diverse and interesting throughout. An extremely promising debut, it’ll be interesting to see what they do next.
Stream the record below and pick it up on vinyl right here.