Monday, August 15, 2011

REVIEW// Cerebral Ballzy: Cerebral Ballzy

     Cerebral Ballzy are a New York punk band that I was actually looking forward to listening to. I thought I was in for some good old-fashioned punk music, full to the brim with rage and anger and thrashing about. The outfit is a quintet, and this eponymous debut was dropped near the end of last month. It has taken me a while to take this album in, if I'm honest, and like I said, I thought I was in for a nice ride... I wasn't. While the rage and anger and thrashing about is there, and indeed the production is pretty good, there is no drive to the music. A key element to punk is the sense of being lied to, deceived or mislead in some way. That gives a motive to the rage and a reason for the anger. With 'Cerebral Ballzy' however, I get the sense they're making pointless noise. There is something about the sound that makes them appear almost crazy, and in parts even arrogant. There is no bold statement in the lyrics against terrorism or segregation or racism, but instead we're being sang lines about them being annoyed about people telling them where to urinate. Really guys? Like a child demanding sweets, and consequently damming the world, this record holds not substance, and is possibly the pettiest punk album I've ever listened to.
     Thankfully, at only twenty minutes long, prolonged torture is spared. I think I'm being a little harsh though. In the end, the production is good and throughout, the instrumentation sounds decent. Where this album falls short in in the ideas behind the music, as opposed to the technical execution of sound. 'On The Run' opens the album with a tired dig at the police, but seems to talk of running away. It's not about being charged for something you didn't do, but rather about getting annoyed with them chasing you. It doesn't work logically for me, which doesn't help much at all. 'Office Rocker' then comes in, with lyrics hardly understandable at all. The beginning to 'Don't Tell Me What To Do' works better in that respect, but suddenly descends into incomprehensible madness. 'Drug Myself Dumb' has great drum beats and a melody at the start, and 'Puke Song' has a lot of f***king and screaming. Variety-wise, a few different rhythms are squeezed into these twenty minutes, but I'm just trying to squeeze out something good to say about 'Cerebral Ballzy'. The deep and angry 'Don't Look My Way' sounds the same as 'Sk8 All Day', which sounds the same as the last two tracks. This really isn't good. I'm sure they're better live, but as for recording an album, I think I'm going to avoid listening to this again. Or their next release.
     The technical side to the music here isn't bad at all, but it needs to be backed up with motives. Without a reason behind the anger, said anger seems pointless, arrogant and self-indulgent. Lyrically, there are little rebellious annoyances, but no real statements to give the record purpose. Without purpose, an album, whatever genre that might be, doesn't mean anything to anyone. A pop record aims to calm. A dance record aims to stimulate. A punk record aims to provoke rebellion, but the only thing 'Cerebral Ballzy' succeeds in is in provoking a headache. I would avoid Cerebral Ballzys eponymous debut.

'On The Run'