Ballroom "S/T" LP
Side A: Corridor, Dismal Sun, I'll Be Coming Back Again
Side B: Nail's Head, Burning Billy, Anti-Hole
On their debut 12'' EP for Ever/Never Records, New York City's Ballroom explode out of the gate with a whirlwind fury. Anchored by a tornado of vicious snare drum thwacks and excoriating guitars, "Corridor" is a threat made manifest by singer Eric Cecil's warnings to "not let the sight disturb ya."
Ballroom are a powerful ensemble assembled from scattered remnants of other notable bands. Cecil (who also plays guitar) did time in Chicago punk standout Busy Signals, and has featured in numerous NYC bands since his relocation. The other axe-slinger, Kristian Brenchley, is a founding member of long-running scum rockers Woman, and also lays down the bottom end in Ever/Never labelmates Degreaser. Ballroom low-end is provided by Home Blitz' Theresa Smith, while the drums are beaten into submission by Steven Fisher, leader of Wilful Boys and Dozers.
On "Dismal Sun," the band locks down on the central riff as guitar leads and frantic snare rolls keep pace with Cecil's thousand-yard stare vocals. "I'll Keep Coming Back" points to a key influence -- the sun-scorched blacktop rumble of prime Scientists, Australia's sultans of swamp. Smith doesn't let up on the gas, pushing Brenchley and Cecil into the realms of the unhinged.
Ballroom's debut features no mellow songs, sappy ballads or moments of false sincerity. "Nail's Head" stands out for its approach to rock n' roll as controlled demolition. This song will bite your hand off if you get too close. "Burnin Billy" could be a feedtime cut, but there's also echoes of the Gun Club and past Crypt Records powerhouses like The Beguiled. The epic final track, "Anti-Hole," coalesces all of Ballroom's excess energy into diesel fumes and takes it for a ride out into the open range, traversing peaks and valleys and mountains and digging for something deeper. Ballroom doesn't so much ride off into the sunset as reach up into the sky and pull it down into the dirt.