Though the title claims that the mastermind behind our next premiere has given up Rock and Roll, the truth is his latest material shows otherwise – Patrick Tape Fleming’s Gloom Balloon newest single, “Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom”, is filled with classic Elvis sofisticated, somewhat orchestral melodies and choruses that takes you back to the old days of rock and roll.
About the song, Patrick Tape Fleming comments:
The song is the center piece of the record. It’s all about the stages of falling in love. It’s a lot of stories rolled into one and I had to write this one to make me believe I could even start thinking about making a new record. The production is like all my musical influences wrapped into a big box with a tag that says “I love you, now pull me into the bathroom and kiss me already!”
Gloom Balloon is the psych pop/chamber pop/soul project of Patrick Tape Fleming (founding member of Poison Control Center, which played over 1,000 shows, opened for a laundry list of indie rock royalty including Jeff Mangum, Pavement, Of Montreal, Apples In Stereo, and released several critically acclaimed records) and Christopher Ford (Christopher the Conquered, who was proclaimed “the real deal” by Ryan Adams
Nothing is absolute in the music of Gloom Balloon. Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom, Underneath the Stars and the Moon, Gloom Balloon’s sophomore album, dwells in the darkest shadows of the heart, where the sounds slide in all directions and ambiguity reigns.
This album is an audacious attempt to mount a fully orchestrated, classically minded conceptual work within the context of contemporary indie rock. Both forward-thinking and backward-minded, a collision of bygone musical styles and one of the most ambitious records you are likely to hear this year.
Gloom Balloon is ex-indie rock troubadour/new father Patrick Tape Fleming’s musical canvas where he’s prone to express undying admiration and withering disdain for the same person, often in the same sentence. The album kicks off with the lo-fi sounds of his newborn baby son Nilsson crying in the background while Tape Fleming sings:
“I’ll buy you a poster for your birthday, maybe a cookie cake? I know the password to your phone, you know how to make my heart break, I just wanted to let you know how pissed I was at you for coming into my life way too late.”
Just as you think this album is going to be a mess of iPhone-fidelity recordings by a broken man, the angelic gospel whispers of bandmate Christopher Ford (Christopher the Conquered) appear with the chant, “Oh Fuck Yeah”, hinting that you have wandered past Tape Fleming in his bedroom and into another world all together.
From there, Gloom Balloon goes chasing the longest of long shots, spurred on by his faith in love even though “it’s hard to be in love”. Tape Fleming has found transcendence in the burning in his love’s eyes, the collapsing of her lung, between her thighs, while tasting the beer on her tongue, and while touching her cold fingers.
He laments these bygone moments of love with overwhelming affection; his past-tense descriptions of intimate moments are so vividly wrought, they reveal him all but consumed by the memory. There is an icy wit to the lyrics but also a new depth of sensitivity for Gloom Balloon:
“I forgot to brush my teeth today, so I can still taste you in my mouth. You might not take this as a compliment, but you’re as dirty as the South. And I never want to be clean again. I hate it when you leave, you’re my only friend.”
Love is portrayed as a dizzying dance that sends participants to peaks of exaltation and valleys of torment and back again. As Gloom Balloon painstakingly itemizes his own shortcomings in lines like “When I view myself with anyone, I’m always the lowest of all, but that way there is nowhere left to fall,” and reflects on the steps that led to his present day despair amidst the confusing optimism in the wake of newfound romance, his resigned tone of voice makes the snags and snarls of love seem almost heroic.
The album is full of recurring themes both lyrically and musically. Gloom Balloon’s music-box melodies are sometimes gentle and sometimes narcotic; even the most pop-oriented moments like “Alone In My Head” and “Drying The Eyes Of The Goddess Of Gloom” share a symphonic, candy-colored majesty far removed from conventional rock idioms with orchestral flourishes, infectious horn arrangements, brash guitar solos, and the simmering power of soulful background singers. The result is positively celestial. Gloom Balloon transforms the common songwriter’s conceited take on romance as a path to enlightenment – if not redemption – into a revelatory, all-consuming epic quest that is as “constant as the sky.”