Single Review: Black Balsam - 'East (fuckups & freaks)'

Calling on the earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the sea and the mountain they are named after, Black Balsam are an indie rock/folk outfit based in Texas who have released one of the most diverse albums we have heard in quite some time.

Black Balsam's current single 'East (fuckups & freaks)' features idiosyncratic yet oddly gravitating male vocals and lyrics which set the tone for a pretty despondent, satirical journey of word and sound. There's a lot going on here but not in an overly obvious, in your face, larger than life way. Black Balsam juxtapose the distinctive vocal style with some really beautiful, earthy, natural, instrumental arrangements. These range from simplistic, acoustic guitar licks, to frantic keys, to something-wicked-this-way-cometh string arrangements to everything in between.

'East' (fuckups & freaks) is a song that flutters, tinkers, soars, clicks, claps and chugs alongside a medley of sensory evoking harmonies. It is playful, brings joy, yet is drenched in a certain amount of foreboding. Black Balsam are a little bit Sufjan Stevens, a little bit Iron and Wine, a little bit pessimistic, and a lot of original.

Single Review by Karla Harris

'East' is taken from Black Balsam's new album, 'See You Later See You There' out now.