Out of obscurity and forcing their way into the spotlight with the tenacity and passion of seasoned vets in Pennsylvanian space pop unit Balloon Ride Fantasy, who have a brand new extended play simply titled BRF and aren’t compromising when it comes to cultivating a sound that owes commercialism nothing and only adheres to the limitations of our natural ability to process sound (although they even tend to push the boundaries on that one, too). BRF isn’t just a new rock album from another Pittsburgh garage band looking to break out of the northeastern circuit and into the national spectrum; it’s essentially a six part swan song that echoes from the depths of the darkest ambient corners of pop to create a stereophonic exhibition into very modern, post-pop territory. I had the pleasure of listening to BRF ahead of its late July release date and was stunned by the excellent content that I found from this fairly unknown, working class rock band.
BRF is futuristic in all the right ways. It’s catchy, minimalistic, ironic and irreverent lyrically, non-evasive, very accessible and intimately produced with a special attention to the little details and nuances of Balloon Ride Fantasy’s sound. While I would have maybe made the vocal tracks a little higher in the mix during a couple of the more chaotic spots of the record, overwhelmingly there is little – if anything – that even the most discriminating of music fans could find to complain about in this EP. As indie artists have taken more to making albums which abandon ego in favor of doing whatever it takes to increase the effectiveness of the music, we seem to be collectively taking for granted how awesome it is to relate to an artist on such a humble level. But thanks to this crystal clear, high definition backdrop that creates an all too perfect platform for Balloon Ride Fantasy to showcase their persona and identity at full volume, we’re able to appreciate all of the tiny moving parts that are working together to make their sound such a tour de force.
Balloon Ride Fantasy could easily be a hit with fans of rock, pop or electronica, and it’s all in thanks to their versatile songwriting style that encompasses influences and thematic elements of all three genres in a fantastic, artistic meld for the ages. From start to finish, it never feels like the band is playing down to us or patronizing our sensibilities with all lot of predictable, slighted narratives that would have sadly cheapened this record beyond the point of recognition. Thankfully, these cats know exactly what they’re doing behind the sound board as well as out in front of the crowd, and it doesn’t involve any sort of hidden agenda aimed at getting us separated from our money (and sense of integrity as an audience). Right now they’re dominating college and specialty radio, but as BRF continues to gain momentum over the summer, the end of the year could easily see Balloon Ride Fantasy taking their sound to the next level of fame and superstardom.