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Bailterspace - Strobosphere

  by Jon Rogers

published: 9 / 8 / 2012

Bailterspace - Strobosphere
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Often derivative, but largely enjoyable distortion-influenced indie rock on first album in thirteen years from New Zealand-based trio, Bailterspace

It's not easy being a Bailterspace fan. It was back in 1999 that the trio last released an album of new material with 'Solar 3' and the New Zealand group, after announcing a hiatus, have been pretty quiet since apart from a compilation, 'best of...' in 2004. Until now. 'Strobosphere' sees the return of Alister Parker, Brent MacLachlan and John Halvorsen to active duty and manages to inject a rather needed dose of vitality into what is becoming a rather stale "indie-rock" scene. At a time when any two-bit boy band with guitars can be classified as "indie" Bailterspace take up the blueprint laid down by the likes of Sonic Youth, add a touch of melody and swamp everything in effects and distortion. It may not be highly original and the band still clearly wear their influences on their sleeves but they do what they do rather well. The more impressive songs on 'Strobosphere' grab the listener by the scruff of the neck and throw them about the place. 'Dset' might be a little too-close-for-comfort homage to the Stooges but it's a bubbly frantic thrash. The title track is propelled by a Teutonic bass drum pounding that Led Zeppelin's John Bonham wouldn't be ashamed of - and then covered in fuzzed up guitars. 'Op1' slows things down and is all the better for it and takes on a rather menacing quality... before the guitars kick in. But it's not all good news. A sizeable chunk of 'Strobosphere' is just indie guitar-rock cliché. A collection of socially-awkward males playing around with their effects pedals and imitating their heroes. 'Live by the Ocean' has one too many hints at stadium rock with its power chords while 'Island' is rather lumpen and predictable. At times Bailterspace is merely a summation of their influences. 'Strobosphere' would have benefited more if Bailterspace had perhaps challenged themselves a bit more. Taken a few more risks. Instead they have played safe, sticking to a tried-and-tested formula. Perhaps just let fly with one or two songs, effectively turning them into extended jams, just loosen things up and see what happens. Take a few chances. On balance, Bailterspace ultimately pull things off and the positives outweigh the negatives and you could do a lot worse than 'Strobosphere'. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another thirteen years before they decide to record again.

Track Listing:-
1 Things That We Found
2 Strobosphere
3 Blue Star
4 Polarize
5 No Sense
6 Meeting Place
7 Island
8 Op1
9 Live By the Ocean
10 Dset
11 World We Share

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