.02 Review: Kashmir - No Balance Palace

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Feb 3 2007, 7:03

I've thought that doing a review of an album I'm really digging would be a good idea. Fun, maybe? Well, I think so. It gives me a good excuse to listen to an album I really love and then gush about it. So, let's start with one of my favorite bands right now [maybe of all-time.] Seriously, amazing band.

Kashmir's latest album, No Balance Palace:

01 Kalifornia
I love a song that opens up nicely, then when it actually gets into the song, it's got a completely different feel to it. If pulled off well, you feel yourself bopping your head when the guitars kick in - like this song. Then Kasper (singer and lead guitarist) comes in with an extremely pleasant voice. It could almost be mainstream but it's too unique for that. Kasper's lyrics feel very personal, even in this song with fragmented thoughts for lyrics. When he kicks in with "restless, restless" for the chorus, I can't stop my legs from moving to the music. He ends the song with an angsty optimism and I'm all about that.

02 Jewel Drop
For some reason, I find myself forgetting about this song and how amazing it is. The beginning pulls me in with a great bit of guitar from Kasper. The guitar stops and the bass and drums take over, which is a nice change-up that pushes the song forward. The chorus is catchy and easy to remember with simple but powerful lyrics: "let's turn it 'round / break ceilings down / and fall in love again." I really love the guitar riff throughout this song, especially the buildup to the chorus.

03 The Cynic (feat. David Bowie)
Okay, honestly, you can't go wrong with a bit of Bowie, can you? One of the heavier songs on the album, it's got another great guitar riff. Kasper's voice is a bit high, I wasn't overly keen on it at first, but I grew quite fond of it. (He actually sings deeper in live versions of this song.) The chorus is god damned catchy: "play with me, play with me / don't tell me how it feels / don't let it be for real / don't tell me how you feel." And the guitar straight after that brings in the beginning, which is catchy, as well. After the first chorus, Bowie sings a verse and it's a wonderful addition to Kashmir's sound. A fun track to air-guitar to.

04 Ophelia
One of my favorites on the album. The opening guitar is gorgeous and somehow very melancholy. When Kasper starts singing, all I want to do is listen to what he has to say and he doesn't disappoint with poignant lyrics like usual: "but the long frozen stare / shooting holes in stagnant air / sends me off to die / waltzing out through your clouds / and I know there is no doubt / Venus is your star." The guitar directly after the short chorus is really quite astounding and I find myself humming it throughout the day after one listen to this song. Kasper continues to slay with lyrics: "you're the pebble in my shoe / and the beauty in my view." Guh. With the combination of powerful lyrics and very well-composed guitar, this song slays me.

05 Diana Ross
Just a 30 second track that serves as an interlude between songs. Held guitar chords and some synthetic noises that remind me of Engima.

06 The Curse of Being a Girl
This is the song you'd probably expect to be the first single off the album. It's very mainstream-sounding. Not bad, but not hugely unique. Its guitar and beat doesn't stand out to me like other songs on the album. Not a bad track, but nothing fantastic. I enjoyed this song more after watching Kasper perform it as a slower, solo piece:



But maybe that's just because I like to stare at Kasper and watch him sing while he plays his pretty guitar.

07 She's Made of Chalk
The beat from the beginning is promising, then the bass has a standout riff that is placed throughout the song very well with the lyrics and I'm hooked. The buildup to the chorus is fantastic and then when it crescendos with guitar, I want to jump in the air and come back down to perform my best air guitar you've ever seen. I'm a sucker for good lyrics being sung very closely to the beat of a song; thank you, Kashmir. At one point, we get some well-placed claps to go along with some great lyrics: "look in the mirror, there’s still good news / don’t need the make up / you won’t look used / can’t wake the dead up / no what you need / is just a bar and some debauchery." Anyone who can use "debauchery" in a song and make me go 'oooh, okay' is a very good. It's fitting and naughty. I like it. At one point, the song seems like it's going to stop but it continues with that drum beat and a bit of help from simple keyboard. Kasper starts singing again and there's one lyric I can never get out of my head: "more white than the holy saints / but not quite immune to his black malaise." I like the ending of this song, too - the guitar screeches for a bit, then the music just stops. Another favorite of mine from the album.

08 Ether
I. Love. This. Bloody. Song. The beat is so melancholic, as is Kasper's voice. The lyrics are gorgeous. Just... download this. Find it. Somehow!

09 Snowman
Not my favorite on the album. The lyrics are mediocre and the beat isn't anything to get too excited about. The reason I listen to this song is because I've simply fallen in love with the band because of other songs. The beat is the same and kind of dull throughout until it gets towards the end of the song, there's a bit of a change-up which is slightly refreshing but not enough to make me stop from skipping this song most of the time.

10 Black Building (feat. Lou Reed)
This is just a distortion of sounds with Lou Reed talking, telling a creepy story about a creepy guy living in a creepy house. It's... creepy. Sort of reminds me of Poe's Haunted album.

11 No Balance Palace
Creepy opening, thanks to previous song, but it brightens up relatively quickly with a fun bass line and some sunny-sounding guitar strokes. A mellow song at the beginning. It's 8 minutes long and a bit fragmented. We have one sound, the song almost stops at about 4 minutes and picks up another beat and sound. It mellows back out again at the end with another completely different sound. I guess "no balance" really fits this song, but I'm not sure why they felt inclined to give the album the same name as this song.

12 Supergirl
Very catchy. It starts off with an "eh" beat but as it progresses, it gets much better and the lyrics work well with the music. The breakdown in this song is really quite amazing; we get some great bass with a break from the traditional beat of the song and it goes into even more of a break as Kasper sings in a lulled voice: "Just don't regret a thing / Cause I don't regret a thing." It goes back to the beginning beat, but it's a refreshing song that's fun and has a catchy beat.

13 She's Made Of Chalk - 2
This is a slightly different version of the first song (minus the "- 2"), but the guitar is a bit rougher - it almost sounds like it's from a demo. It's not as polished as the first song, but it's still as fantastic. It's nice to see how a song, despite not being polished and "perfect" is still quite amazing.

.END.

Overall, this album is amazing. Just these 13 songs made me fall in love with this band. It doesn't happen to this extent very often and when it does, it's serious. This band and album, in particular, has a fascinating, unique sound that combines melancholy and fun in a way that really works. It's got a song for every mood and if you feel sad and listen to one track, the next track could bring you right back up.

I guess I should've just said: Get this album. Now.

Commenti

  • got_edge

    I shall check this out.

    Feb 5 2007, 2:30
  • got_edge

    I finally listened to the album: It's pretty much amazing!

    Feb 23 2007, 3:20
  • rocketbrother19

    Excellent review! Seeing them in about 21 hours. So exciting! :D

    Mar 12 2010, 5:46
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