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AAA Music | 19 August 2022

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AVA LUNA – Electric Balloon

| On 20, Feb 2014

AVA LUNA - Electric Balloon

Organised chaos. This is not some hastily thrown together mish-mash of ideas, Ava Luna have created an untidy, scattered album that doesn’t appear to have any idea where it’s going. And, for some reason, I absolutely love it. I’m generally one for standard tracks and album that comply to general format stereotypes but Electric Balloon really peaked my interest and appealed to some inner, jazzy part of me. It has the feel of the early RHCP, without the 50/50 chance of a track totally bombing. The intentionally sketchy guitar parts are undoubtedly the biggest draw for this album which somehow manages to combine the funk of James Brown with a case of the Patti Smiths. Mixing the smooth and vicious vocals throughout the album works brilliantly and there are some suave little riffs sneaking through the aura of potential pretension.

This is a new generation of art-pop that doesn’t shun the wealth of musical history that has gone before. It embraces various predecessors and contemporaries; using legendary and cult artists in a pick’n’mix manner. I avoided the track names pretty swiftly as I figured I would end up moaning for one reason or another (‘Sears Roebuck M&Ms’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue). The percussion parts are the key to holding everything together, allowing the other textures to swirl and intertwine without getting too carried away. Though the vocal abilities throughout remain impressive and enticing, the guitar is the star of the show and takes no shame in being at the forefront throughout. Another strength of the album is how the bass is able to blend in throughout without being intrusive; it’s smooth, supportive, and streamlined magnificently.

My favourite track is probably the title track, something in me wants to play it on repeat as I walk around the Tate. It’s the centrepiece of an album that has my seriously rethinking some of my musical tastes. This lo-fi, edgy finished product is a bit of a niche listen but more than worth giving up 40 minutes or so of your life for. If Ava Luna ever come and tour the UK, I might just have to make it one of those rare occasions where my wallet gets opened. This is pure, unadulterated pleasure.

Ciaran Steward