Balloon Astronomy, Self Titled, 2011
Balloon Astronomy are an independent band from San Diego, California, formed by Glenn Little (keyboards, flutes, guitars, etc.) and Jim Ledger (vocals, guitars and bass) and have just released their first album. And when one manages to secure the help of musicians like Nick D’Vergilio, Max Werner and Mike Keneally, you know you can expect something.
The guys claim to be influenced by seventies prog bands like Genesis, Jethro Tull, Mike Oldfield, Kayak and Supertramp, as well as by more contemporary acts like Muse, Kevin Gilbert, Midnight Oil and Porcupine Tree. If these names are familiar, you will notice that is quite the range. How does that accumulate into an original sound?
Well, in this field it is quite difficult to be original. In my book it is most important to write good songs and create your own identity based on that. And I am happy to report I feel the band delivers. I do hear arrangements or snippets that remind me of the afore mentioned acts, but I do not hesitate to say that those indeed are influences. Often based on piano (to me the central instrument on this disk) the tracks have a beautiful melange of moods. What they write about their influences “listening from beginning to end is a journey through a range of moods, both subtle and intense…the most rewarding examples can require several listens for the depth of their beauty to become fully apparent” applies to their music as well . Could not have said it better.
So there you have it, convincing from start to finish. Anyone into this music or bands: go grab a copy! I hope they travel long and far and keep bringing us updates…