Balthazar is another of these great Belgian bands that emerge, singing in English. I don’t know what’s in the water* in Liège, Brussels, Antwerp, Kortrijk or Ghent but there’s a unique mood that comes out of bands like dEUS, My Cheap Little Dictaphone, Girls in Hawaii…. Now, here’s Balthazar adding up this A1 list of Belgian rock greats.

Balthazar has the ability to surf on their main singer’s spleen. Jinte Deprez makes the band sounds a bit like Coldplay on Then What, although his voice is way rougher, maybe inspired by The Pogues’ Shane McGowan. There’s something reminiscent of the greatest moments by engaged bands like Midnight Oil in Balthazar’s music. Maarten Devoldere (vocals, guitars), Patricia Vanneste (vocals, violin, synth), Simon Casier (vocals, bass) and Michiel Balcaen (drums) have been playing together since 2005 when most of them were barely 18.

The key song “Thin Walls”, their 3rd album in 5 years, is Bunker. This one has great single potential. Great melody, great band spirit, great ambiance. Again, Bathazar puts Deprez’s spleen in the front seat and it gives depth to the whole deal.

 

Cool fuzzy bass lines drive the show on more straight-forward songs like Nightclub. This song is actually a great example of good musical composition. In the two first seconds, you’d think Balthazar would take the same rock street than Muse, but no. They go another way, with catchy chorus and band enthusiasm à la Will Driving West. That is cool because they go where it’s unexpected. Another unexpected style comes up with Wait Any Longer, on which Deprez sings. It starts with a Velvet Underground feel, then switches to a Byrds influenced summer pop song when lyrics start. No spleen here!

A great album from a very interesting new band.

*Maybe its the (great) Belgian beer?

BALTHAZAR
Thin Walls
(PIAS, 2015)

-Genre: indie rock
-Sounds like dEUS, Coldplay, Will Driving West

Follow the band via his Facebook page
Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.