It’s clear from the opening notes of the album’s first and title track Fever that the five-piece have changed, not least due to their individual musical pursuits over the past few years. Opening with a rolling languid bass riff, Fever unfurls into a slinky sunset jam, a swooping string motif adding drama to the funky bustle that fanfares Balthazar into new territory with their fourth album; honest, playful and underpinned with a carefree abandon from two extraordinary songwriters.
Following the band’s self-imposed hiatus, a break that saw frontmen and writing partners Jinte Deprez and Maarten Devoldere pursuing different individual interests from both a personal and creative perspective that has ultimately led the band to fashion their most cohesive album to date.
The break saw Devoldere release two albums of lush, moody art-jazz as Warhaus which, freed from the work constraints of Balthazar, eventually resulted in him ending up at a retreat in Kyrgyzstan. Meanwhile, his best friend since school, Deprez, remained at home in Ghent working in the studio, indulging his love of old-school R&B, and releasing a solo record under the nom de plume J. Bernardt. The freedom to indulge their whims and the result of those solo successes led to the urge to write together again, propelled by a broader artistic horizon and hastened by their mutual respect for each other’s work.
On reconvening the band had no plans, just a simple desire to better their previous works, and to further the band’s story. Both primary songwriters agreed on a less serious vision leaning towards a looser, refreshed sound – less melancholic, but retaining their unerring ability to create a hook-laden armoury. As Devoldere explains; “Some songs felt like classic Balthazar pop songs, others a little chipper, but it wasn’t until we had Fever that we had the foundation for the rest of the album.”
Meanwhile tickets for the bands European tour in 2019 go on sale at 10am on Friday 02 November with a special pre-sale to fans on Wednesday 31 October – the full itinerary is as follows:
06.02 – The Fleece, BRISTOL UK 07.02 – Green Door Store, BRIGHTON UK 08.02 – The Deaf Institute, MANCHESTER UK 09.02 – Whelans, DUBLIN IE 10.02 – Oran Mor, GLASGOW UK 12.02 – Scala, LONDON UK 13.02 – Live Music Hall, KÖLN DE 14.02 – Grunspan, HAMBURG DE 15.02 – Huxleys, BERLIN DE 16.02 – Technikum, MUNICH DE 17.02 – Batschkapp, FRANKFURT DE 19.02 – Flex, VIENNA AT 20.02 – Santeria Social Club, MILAN IT 22.02 -Les Docks, LAUSANNE CH 23.02 – Plaza, ZURICH CH 25.02 – Majestic Music Club, BRATISLAVA SK 26.02 – Control Club, BUCHAREST RO 28.02 – Lucerna Music Bar, PRAGUE CZ 01.03 – Klub Proxima, WARSAW PL 07.03 – AFAS Live, AMSTERDAM NL 08.03 – Lotto Arena, ANTWERP BE 24.03 – Aeronef Club, PARIS FR 25.03 – Casino de Paris, PARIS FR 28.03 – Épicerie Moderne, FEYZIN FR 29.03 – Rockstore, MONTPELIER FR 30.03 – Sala Apolo, BARCELONA ESP 31.03 – Cool Stage, MADRID ES 02.04 – Krakatoa, BORDEAUX FR 03.04 – Stereolux, NANTES FR