Saturday, August 16, 2008
New Discoveries: The Balconies
Since moving to Toronto from Ottawa in February of last year, it's become apparent that few people outside of the Nation's Capital really give its music scene any credit. Apart from local heroes the Acorn, who have made some ground after signing to Paper Bag Records in 2006, there hasn't been much splash made since the days of Alanis Morissette despite having a handful (albeit a small hand) of very impressive and respectable bands.
Enter the Balconies, a young band comprised of three exceptionally talented and professionally trained musicians. The band is Liam Jaeger (drums), Jacquie Neville (guitar), and Steve Neville (bass), and they just this week played their first Toronto show, completely catching everyone off-guard with their refined product, especially those unfamiliar with their already impressive rock resumes.
It's been less than four months since Jaeger's former project, prized math rockers For the Mathematics called it quits, and already he's found an absolute keeper alongside girlfriend Jacquie, who also plays strings and sings back-up for the Ottawa-acclaimed zillion-piece orchestral rock band Jetplanes of Abraham. With her comes younger brother Steve who, like his bandmates, is studying music at nearby University of Ottawa, where Jaeger has just begun his MA in Classical Guitar while Jacquie finishes up her BA in Music Education.
The three split songwriting and vocal duty, each bringing to the table diverse and eclectic styles, influences, and impressive vocal range (particularly on the part of the female Neville). The result is a blossoming blend of classic and garage rock, catchy pop hooks, and bass lines which twist and groove through an unquantifiable list of influences and genres. While brother Steve holds that down, Jacquie manhandles the stratocaster like she was born to do so, and Jaeger is so natural behind the kit that you'd never guess that it's only one of an entire gamut of instruments that he's trained to totally own, as he's demonstrated both in his educational option and his bass-destroying history in FTM. The fact that they each play a host of different instruments (extremely well, I must add) helps to account for their ability to impress immediately, while still the baby stages of their development as a band.
To date, the band has only recorded three songs, each one of them has quality stamped all over them, though none come close to capturing their impact in a live environment. In the not-so-distance future, according to the male Neville, are plans to continue writing for a full-length record. In the meantime, I'll be bookmarking their myspace page with my eyes and ears on guard for any new material.
the Balconies - Battle Royale
the Balconies - Rest Up