For the second time in what seems to be a very short time, I’m listening to one of those releases, where the first expression to jump to mind is ”finally! finally – it’s here”! A little less than a month ago it was And The Glass Handed Kites by Mew and now it’s the much anticipated (but probably less hyped) No Balance Palace by Kashmir.
Produced by Tony Visconti and with contributions from Lou Reed and David Bowie it is really no mystery why expectations are so high!
Nearly 3 years have gone since the release of Zitilites and to be brutally honest I’ve never really grown into loving it. The Good Life is still a brilliant album in my opinion, but the follow-up never matched its quality or success. But with a legendary producer hired for the project, I’m probably not the only one who hoped that the band would re-discover some of its old “magic”.
So far I’ve listened to the album three times and the more I listen the less afraid I am to declare that the album meets every expectation I might have had.
Unlike Zilities (which in my opinion requires lots of hard work by the listener) No Balance Palace is to my surprise very immediate and is one long pearl string of great songs that seem to battle every opportunity to get stuck in your head. The album is (of course) very well-produced and the songs are more undemanding (thus less experimental) and melodic than we have been used to expect from this band, without the band forgetting that they still are a rock band! The contributions from the aforementioned stars are just minor splashes and cannot be said to have any essential influence on the end result!
In the long run this could (not at all saying that it will) obviously turn out to work as a disadvantage for the band (at least from a fans point of view), because great albums normally need more time to mature than just a few spins.
However from a commercial point of view the straightforwardness of the album could very well mean that the band will reach a much wider audience than they have ever been able to reach before.
Summed up I think this is a brilliant and memorable effort by the band, which should please fans as well as open the doors to a new audience.
If you're not at all familiar with the band I recommend that you watch the video to the single The Curse Of Being A Girl.