Gangs of Ballet - yes/no/grey.

The Durbanite alternative four-piece fronted by guitarist Brad Klynsmith recently released their long awaited first full-length album, yes/no/grey. Despite a unique denim-clad image and a series of promising live performances, the album fails to set sail on what could have been a journey and a much needed ignition to the SA alternative music scene.

Like so many of their contemporaries, Gangs of Ballet has fallen into a trap of trying to attain a 'different' sound, drawing on contrasted influences that come together to create a sound that is, ironically, indistinguishable from most other modern alternative rock bands.   

The band’s attempt to create anthemic, ringing choruses inspires an image of what a slightly less lyrically and vocally blessed love-child of Coldplay and Westlife might sound like.

Successful albums usually display a broad range of musical technique. These can be found in yes/no/grey, although the culmination of these styles when featuring in one song often detracts from each other rather than enhance. The band’s frequent use of piano arrangements clashes with the core elements of their sound, adding unwanted volume and creating an unpleasant melody.

Klynsmith demonstrates a solid yet bland voice which lacks the subtle originality and power to carry and so enrich several of the album’s songs, which often appear instrumentally threadbare.

Repetitive? Plenty. Memorable? Not so much.

Best track:

In the first two tracks – "All These Things" and "Kiss Kiss" – the band come the closest to realising their attempted sound through lively, heavily distorted guitars as well as an array of synthesisers which certainly do not go unnoticed. The album’s zenith is reached through the energy of the openers rather than any great musical harmony.

Worst track:

The aptly named "Isn’t It A Shame".

Watch the preview for the album here:

Watch their video for Hello Sweet World here: