balletschool

This is certainly no criticism of Bella Union – because their success rate, signing-wise, is beyond formidable – but they really, really like their dream pop bands, don’t they? It’s no surprise, perhaps, given that founder Simon Raymonde was in the Cocteau Twins, but it’s still something that jumps out from their roster, especially when giving Ballet School’s latest a spin. ‘The Dew Lasts an Hour’, superficially at least, sounds absolutely immaculate; for the most part, the Berlin trio lean on a pretty minimalist sonic template, with singer Rosie Blair typically stretching her vocal muscles over relatively sparse beds of synth.

Early cuts ‘Slow Dream’ and ‘Pale Saint’ are cases in point; there’s plenty of energy, but with fairly low-key electronics and rudimentary beats backing them, there’s no shaking the sense that there’s something missing. There’s certainly standouts – the washed-out guitar on ‘Heartbeat Overdrive’ is a masterstroke; ‘All Things Return at Night’ channels eighties electro-pop in glorious fashion – but ultimately, the record tends to veer between tracks that are too understated for their own good (the groove on ‘LUX’, for instance, could’ve stood for some fleshing out) and others that simply sound half-baked (the directionless ‘Yaoi’ meanders). There’s flashes of promise – sonically, at points, they have eighties retro pop cornered as convincingly as I’ve heard for a while – but there’s no question that Ballet School are going to need a little more bite next time out.

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