# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Ballet - I Blame Society

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 15 / 7 / 2013

Ballet  - I Blame Society
Label: Fortuna POP!
Format: CD


Hugely enjoyable third album of 80’s-influenced electronica from gay New York trio, the Ballet

When I saw that the Ballet were playing a gig near my home, I jumped at the chance of tickets – mainly so that I could tell my wife that my friend and I were off to the Ballet for an evening out, I figured that I’d better see what all the fuss was surrounding the New York trio. Gladly, I wasn’t disappointed. This is the Ballet’s third album, and there is an air of confidence in the performance. Their music, which they describe as “unashamedly sissy,” owes a great deal to Stephen Merritt both in terms of theme and concept. The Ballet’s sound, however, is much more polished than Merritt’s and the material is enhanced by this superior performance. The album opens with Alright, all driving drum beat and a Motown horn style synth line. A gentle electric guitar backs Greg Goldberg’s precise and understated vocal. When the Ballet sing “Everything’s gonna be okay,” I’m inclined to believe them. My personal favourite track is Feelings. It’s part Roxy Music, part Pet Shop Boys all packaged with another superbly intimate vocal. There is a distinct early 80s vibe which manages somehow to sound both au courant and classic. That, perhaps, is the key to the track and indeed the album’s success, the seamless blend of old and new. The album manages to distil the better aspects of the 80’s electronic scene with well-crafted, personal lyrics. Unlike, say, Stephen Merritt’s ‘69 Love Songs’, the songs on ‘I Blame Society’ are polished and precise, in places more reminiscent of New Order or the Human League than Merritt’s Magnetic Fields. Certainly one could accuse ‘I Blame Society’ of being slightly kitsch with its prominent synth and subdued vocals, but for me this adds to the charm – The Ballet have managed to create a sound which is at once familiar and innovative. For all the lyrical mood of the album is perhaps not as upbeat as the music suggests, it was fun – something which is sadly lacking from a great deal of music today. The Ballet understand their role as providers of entertainment and excel at it. Fans of 80’s synth-pop will find much to enjoy in this album, as will anyone with an interest in the contemporary New York scene. Fans of album art, however, will not – the cover is right up there with Neil Young’s ‘Landing on Water’ in that it is one of the dullest, least inspiring covers that I have ever seen. With that in mind, I would probably describe ‘I Blame Society’ as a supermarket own brand chocolate bar – drearily packaged, but with hugely enjoyable contents.

Track Listing:-
1 Alright
2 Cruel Path
3 Difficult Situations
4 Feelings
5 Meaningless
6 Too Much Time
7 Is Anybody out There?
8 Turn You
9 Sorry
10 All the Way

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