Beauxregard

When Balloons Were Sleeves (Lion Dog)

On paper, it reads like another dismissible synth-wielding '80s rehash. Dallas already has plenty of bands like that. There's a slight variation in this case, as dapper frontman J. Quincy Romine is channeling David Bowie rather than Ian Curtis, and it's not as if there was a dearth of Bowie worshippers before this band came along.

Beauxregard's music is also more than the sum of its parts. Its songs are well-crafted without being formulaic, satisfying without being predictable. The EP starts off boldly with "Life Like a Missile," a seven-minute, chorus-free composition with a single piano line repeating insistently over a hypnotic drum loop as Romine melodramatically emotes about a girl who dyed her hair black and is not coming back. Next up is "Queen Noir," which makes up for the lead track's lack of a chorus with a triumphant, ascending chorus that sounds just as uplifting and sweet as Romine's words: "There you are, you're by far/The brightest star, my queen noir." It's not all sappy, though: Over deceptively cheerful-sounding synth strings and distorted drumbeats, "Hollywood Forever" contrasts a girl's silver-screen dreams with cold reality.

Wrapping up in less than 27 minutes, the album's only flaw is its brevity. Nonetheless, it's a good introduction to a band that knows how to craft a great song.

 
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