Balthazar - Sand
I think I know how Brexit happened. It’s been bothering me for a while. How could the British do something so stupid? Then it hit me. If British people knew more about European music, we might not have thrown away being part of the club. Ok, that's a stretch, but bear with me...
Much of the European music I grew up with is rubbish - Falco, Sabrina, Nena (ok, 99 Luftballons is fabulous), Aqua, and of course Europe….it wasn’t great. I think that's part of this belief we Brits are better than everything European. BUT, radio here hid loads of amazing music.
Some snuck through….take a bow A-ha (I will literally rugby tackle anyone who says I’ve Been Losing You is not a GREAT song). But a wealth of bands just couldn’t cut through the Nicey n Smashie, jingoistic nonsense….for God’s sake, how many Irish bands got lumped in with “Britpop”…?
Anyway, what the fuck has this got to do with Balthazar?
They are Belgian.
I am willing to bet that 99% of you have never heard of them.
If you have, then I am certain you can’t name a song by them.
That when you listen to this album, especially Losers and On A Roll, you will really like them.
Shame on you. And to be fair, until a couple of years ago, shame on me. They are fab. And Sand is their fifth album. It’s catchy as hell.
Losers, despite its lyrics (“I’ve been tying my shoes together / then I’ve been trying to walk away.”), is surprisingly positive, given where the world turned as they started recording Sand.
Elsewhere, it’s chilled out cool - a downtempo, late night Arcade Fire, meets MGMT and Tame Impala. The off-kilter piano motif of closer Powerless may just drive me mad, but in a good way.
Who knew that’s what Belgian 21st Century music sounded like? I wish everyone else in This Sceptred Isle gave them a go, along with other European bands such as The Whitest Boy Alive, dEus, Phoenix, M83, Francois & The Atlas Mountains, Christine & The Queens, Black Box Revelation…maybe, just maybe, we might have wanted to stay. Maybe someone should have tied our shoes together...