Bullets or Balloons, That is the Question

Bullets or Balloons, That is the Question

Adriana SaboTuesday,28 October 2014

The Snap: 

If the ideology behind punk is considered to be dead, than the sound that rebels established at the end of the seventies is most definitely not (dead): it still is an important source of inspiration for young bands. On the other hand, this might precisely be the proof that it is (as good as) dead, something old that belongs in a museum, that thing that serves as a starting point for youngsters who long to express themselves and for this reason turn to the past. What ever the case, Bullets or Balloons seem to quite heavily draw on the heritage of punk and punk rock, being inspired both by the sound and by the spirit of the movement. In an attempt to anwer the question “What is Bullets or Balloons,” they say “A morbid, esoteric choice? Imagery of death versus celebration? An urban gun exchange program? None of the above.” I’d add that they are a band that released an EP, titled Bullets or Balloons 7.” They are a band that has three members: Aaron Anderberg (bass), Chris Henderson (guitar/vocals), and Cory Mason Phipps (percussion). They like to experiment. They are searching for their voice. And they would add that “With their powers combined they have created utter bullshit.”  Oh, what fake modesty!

The Download: 

This utter bullshit they created is, in fact, not bullshit at all (and they know it). So, I’ll take the bait and write about all the reasons this is (not) so. First of all, the EP has four tracks, all of which are energetic, driven and generally jumpy: great beats, great riffs and imaginative use of the aesthetic means established by punk. Even though the raw punk rock sound entered mainstream a long time ago, they still manage to avoid being cheesy and to steer clear form all those well established phrases. Each track has a narrative that moves forward and all songs have a perfect internal logic. All three of the band members play fantastically, showing that now-a-days, you have to be technically able to be rebellious. The raw sound is the result of good production and is planned out to the smallest details, contrasting the “let’s-see-what-happens-when-I-do-this” attitude of the punks. Anderberg, Henderson and Phipps also have something to say: about music, our world, our everyday lives, war fear etc. And they seem to have realized that in today’s context, the presentation is crucial. Many artists, these days, present audiences with essentially nothing, that is, never the less, wrapped in an interesting package. In contrast to this practice, Bullets or Balloons send a message in a polished, yet unpretentious way.

Thus, their music tells me that punk has evolved. It adapted to the new surroundings, but it has not lost its edge. And hopefully, we will hear more from these guys.

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