Balance and the Traveling Sounds – Something About Us (review)

I don’t think anyone who calls himself knowledgeable about music can brag about his tastes without at least having heard a single track from Daft Punk.

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The helmets still look sexy as hell.

The French electronic juggernauts have been producing top music since 1993 and haven’t lost a single bit of their magic dust. The futuristic headdress-wearing pair of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo established a legacy as the granddaddies that helped eased electronic music into the mainstream playlists.

The Draft Punk record that left a huge impression on my musical DNA was “Discovery”. From “One More Time” to “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” blasting on early 2000’s MTV, the loopy goodness of Daft Punk found its way to my heart. The impressive, old-school anime visuals of “Interstella 5555” helped the group book a room in my heart, board up, and stay there.

One of the loveliest songs on this record was “Something About Us”. The song was lonely, like it was reaching out for someone, begging him/her/it to stay. It didn’t help that the visuals was a sobfest of its own:

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Let me paint you a picture.

The year’s 2013. Your head’s pinging you terribly for your stupid decision to drink a shitton of liquor. You are on your way back to campus with your friends, and the guy driving the car plugged his phone to the vehicle’s audio system.

You suddenly hear this nice saxophone entry, accompanied by the soft piano notes and the subtle bass strikes and snappy drumming. The sound eventually gets fuller, then a man starts rapping. You hear something familiar and new. Your brain hurts more from overthinking; this song sounds like home, it smells like home.

All of a sudden, a soul-filled guy sings the first notes. Your headache flies away, you smile, you get goosebumps all over your skin, your voice goes up a few octaves, and you look at your smug, smiling friend. You say three words.

“No. Fucking. Way.”

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Balance and the Traveling Sounds is an ensemble of varied music tastes that come from all directions. You can hear bits and pieces of various genres if you listen hard enough, but these boys specialize in funky, sweet, urban sounds.

Whenever I listen to a cover of a song I cherish dearly, I look at how the artist approaches the song and if his/her/their attempt makes me go through an entirely different journey. This is why I learned to hate Boyce Avenue after realizing that they don’t have any plans of doing anything else with the songs they cover besides making it sickeningly sweet and acoustic. This is also the reason why I LOVE Yuna’s take on “Come As You Are”.

Balance and the Traveling Sounds did a fantastic job in making the song foreign yet familiar at the same time. The instrumentalists’ ad-libs weren’t excessive and helped boost the entire experience. The sudden change of tempo and guitar solo at the middle of the song killed me. God, that sounded so good.

I don’t know if they are still active or they disbanded, but I am sure as hell that they gave me a backdrop to one of the best memories in my life.

You should listen to their other tracks, like “Hey Lady” and “Cold Outside” if you’re into chill music that’s sure of itself and isn’t trying to impress you with too much sass. They’re more than worth the spin.

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