new music: alternative r&b musician ed balloon opens up on “no smoking” ep

February 18, 2016

There are some albums that, as you are listening to them, you don’t even notice that they’re telling a story until you listen closely to the lyrics. What makes “No Smoking” a good listen is how raw and unafraid the lyrics are. At times, it’s inventive and resourceful, while remaining vulnerable and relevant.

The opener “Blow Up” finds Ed Balloon echoing his fans sentiment: “Are you going to blow up?” Soon, hopefully, as he’s now signed to a celebrated avant-garde/experimental label. Next up, the dancehall-flavored “Graduate” opens with “She went to college/She sure is ratchet/But only in the club.” The genius of the track are the ironic closing synths which are less than celebratory.

“BassLine” is funky enough for people to bust out their moonwalk, but the lyrics speaks of a love that Ballon hopes to find. For some of you, these may be just ordinary dance tracks. But if the former tracks don’t tell you anything, the next ones hammer home the vulnerability of leaving the club with the girl and wanting her to be more than a body in one’s bed.

“Night Crawler” slows things down with an R&B track for these ages. Rather, an R&B song that searches for love wherever one can find it, if only because that’s what he think the girl is looking for it, too. “As the night crawls in, tell me you’re sticking till the end”, he soulfully sings before closing with “you’re more than a one-night stand”. I’d tell you about “Tick Tock”, but I feel like I’d be giving away the ending of a movie. Let’s say that the lo-fi employment of the click track is very integral to the feeling.

Given the number of songs, Ed Balloon was able to cover some ground in only 5. Where most people would look at the club as a place to lose your mind and your morals for a few hours, Ed Balloon’s genius is his ability to shamelessly find some humanity, some feeling amongst the people just looking for one-night-stands.

“No Smoking” is out now on Deathbomb Arc. Also,via Bandcamp.

By Lightning Pill, AFROPUNK Contributor