Artist:  Jeffrey Altergott
   Title: Balloons
   Label: Independent Release 

When an album is described as 'Adult Rock / Pop, the first thing that will probably spring to mind is ... "Oh no, Coldplay, don't bother to check it out", and that's where the problem could lie for Jeffrey Altergott.

There's no escaping the mood that's going to run right through it as soon as 'Inside' begins, as that familiar acoustic / drum combination used by god knows how many bands sets away.  It's only the use of slide guitar that lifts the song from possible obscurity and boredom.

Title track 'Balloons' is possibly Altergott's 'Yellow' or 'Driftwood', the slow and sleepy tempo so relaxing that it seems to last an age, the helping hand of some Chris Isaak - style guitar drifting in and out quite eerie yet sublime making the outcome just that bit more special.  It's just a shame that the lyrics are on the sad and depressing side of what the song is about.

'Till Tomorrow Comes' follows on with that reverberating guitar texture, mixed in with a tender touch on keyboards that could send shivers down your spine due to its ethereal-like effect.  True to form, Altergott's vocals edge on the morose, and you feel as if someone should shake him by the shoulders and tell him to "pit a bit more life into it man!"

Finally, it seems the penny drops, as 'Every day is a Reason' brings a touch of upbeat to the album, where its story is about a gay couple and how they go about their lives.  If you listen to the lyrics carefully, it could be about any couple out there, so full marks on a clever, thought provoking song for Altergott.

Unfortunately, that penny didn't drop too far, because 'Something Crazy' and fans favourite 'don't prove me Right' delve straight back into the delicate slower regime, the latter as said, voted fan favourite winner in the 2009 Billboard World Song Contest! It takes all sorts I suppose.

From out of nowhere, things are turned around sharply, with the swing-orientated 'Kickstand', the lavish horn work produced by special guest band leader Paul Van Mertens.  Its like being sent back to the 1940s-50s for 3.5 minutes, and its where the vocals strangely find their home, that pleasant, not over-excited tone made for this song. 

If it wasn't to be, then it wasn't to be, as 'Dandelion', albeit for some phased guitar-work, just drags you back into a state of melancholy at its best (or worst!), which is such a shame, but there you are, that's today's "Adult" rock scene for you.  'Thank You' fares no better on the emotional front, even if he is actually saying thanks to someone for being there for him, as it all comes across boring and lack-lustre when it should be happy.  I bet the subject in the song was really chuffed with this track dedicated to them.

Whether it is by accident or somehow intentional, Jeffrey eventually sounds full of beans on 'Dismal Voyeurs; with its tongue-in-cheek dig at reality TV and how we soak it in no matter how cringe-worthy things can get.  Sang over some snappy drumbeat and slicing guitar strokes at least the album ends on a high instead of what could easily have been a whimper, which would have been the wrong thing to do.

'Balloons' will most likely be a difficult album to get into first time of listening if you prefer the "get down n' get with it" style, but as a background soundtrack when there's a possible need for musical diplomacy, look no further than this and set the tone for a relaxing informal outcome.

Review by: Bob Baldwin   

Tracklisting:

1. Inside
2. Balloons
3. Till Tomorrow Comes
4. Every Day Is A Reason
5. Something Crazy
6. Don't Prove Me Right
7. Brothers Beautiful
8. Kickstand
9. Dandelion
10. Thank You
11. Dismal Voyeurs 

                   

 

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