The Bards of Balance,
Restoring Balance
(independent, 2010)

There is undoubtedly good amateur music out there. It is not to be found on Restoring Balance. And while there may be some very good ideas expressed in the lyrics, it would certainly help if the vessel for those ideas made you want to listen to them.

For the first few seconds the music of "Advertisements Tell Me" is promising, but the song quickly becomes stilted, burying the message in the lyrics. The music underlying "The Lobbyist" gets better, but the more spoken than sung lyrics are not much easier to listen to. "Balance" is largely noise, the instruments fitting in neither with each other nor the singing. The individual segments of the track are not connected save by sequence.

The trend of breaking a song into sections continues in "Hans Out of Luck." It remains hard to connect the parts, though some of the subdued sections are pleasant enough. The opening phrases of "Gullible Man" almost work, but it fails to click. "American Dream" has one of the stronger intros, but once you get past it, the pieces cease to mesh. I almost wonder if "Power & Dough" might be better served with a slight shift in key in the vocals, but compared to the previous songs that is a small complaint.

The music for "Corporate Media Blues" hints at the blues while the singing comes out flat. "Freedom" seems to go fast for the sake of going fast -- or at least the music does while the lyrics are sung at about half that tempo. There is music and singing in "Puppet Libertarian," neither of which seems to have any connection to the other. Unfortunately "That's Unspeakable" is largely unlistenable due to issues listed repeatedly before.

They come very close with "Middle Class Harmony" and, once again, best guess is it needs a tweak in the harmonics between the vocals and music. The music of "I'm Working" feels like it belongs on a beach, but the lyrics come nowhere close in style or content.

It is impossible to miss the politics in "I Love My Country" and the music is some of the best in the collection, although the singing still needs work. They close off instrumentally with "Humility, Faith, Courage," and while it might not really have much in the way of a message it is the best piece in the mix.

The elements that compose the songs in Restoring Balance aren't all bad. However, they aren't good enough, nor do the blend well enough, for me to come anywhere close to recommending this disc.

music review by
Paul de Bruijn

21 August 2010

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