The Black Country’s Balaban and the Bald Illeagles have crafted a largely decent album in ‘Going Clear’, that’s sadly soured by one or two glaring errors of judgement in which their strong opinions verge on the ridiculous.
The lads from Stourbridge have a solid sound containing a generous mix of rock styles, giving them a powerful rebellious vibe. On the lyrical side they impress too, finding witty and wordy ways to grab politics and society by the horns.
Strangely enough, most of the band’s best work on ‘Going Clear’ crops up on the back half of the 10-track album. Epic anthem ‘Conglomerate’ and the energetic ‘Ghost Limb’ are particularly worthy of praise as the Bald Illeagles show off their variety.
This band wear their hearts on their sleeves and have clearly got passion and pride in their music in abundance, which is always fantastic to see. However, there’s one track in particular where this goes too far.
There’s a whole sub-genre of songs that have been knocking about for years that rail against ‘modern music’ and fawn over some perceived utopia in the past where every song was pure genius. They’re all annoying, but ‘Music Crimes’ on this album absolutely takes the cake.
In four minutes of holier-than-thou preaching, the Bald Illeagles wail about music these days lacking any emotion or inspiration, whilst branding the current generation ‘talentless zombie halfwits’. That’s not exactly inspiring for young bands is it? Of course there’s some shit music out there, but that’s always been the case, and the sweeping statements on this track just leave a bad taste in the mouth.
If you’re willing to ignore that nasty stain on an otherwise respectable album however, you’ll be pretty pleased by Balaban’s latest offering, which is packed with mighty grooves and thought-provoking lyrics.