Balthazar – Sand review

They say that fear of the unknown is what causes human beings the most stress of all situations, but although Balthazar’s fifth album was recorded almost entirely in the band member’s homes, co-songwriter Jinte Deprez took the new normal circumstances in his stride, phlegmatically summing the state of things up with “You just work with what you’ve got.”

Deprez and creative partner Maarten Devoldere have been subtly repurposing the Belgian quintet’s sound away from it’s earlier roots in baroque indie pop, a process which began on 2018’s Fever. Now ensconced in blue eyed soul and jazz, this is music which is as sophisticated as it’s confidently delivered.

To an extent all listening habits are matters of acquired taste, but You Won’t Come Around’s breezy, slap-bass kitsch is undeniably perfect for 70’s crate diggers who can’t get to their local charity shop, whilst Moment layers in brassy bombast and closer Powerless sounds like it hails from an off-Broadway show with a mongrel cast of of ruthless up-and-comers. Sand puts the group on a vaguely niche hill they certainly seem prepared to die on – and not everything rises above facsimile – but working with what you’ve got shouldn’t it seems mean giving in to compromise.

You can read the full review here.


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