Sweet Receiver / Red Spider

/self released; 2003/




more info:

Some might say that sunshine follows thunder, well this is only the law of nature. Some might say that I have a tendency to start fires but they don't really say what they mean. Anyway, I won't be objective.


B Balthazar is a great songwriter and singer and with Chokebore's shadow hanging over his solo effort, he capitalizes on his band's unique atmosphere while succeeding in offering us a personal identity of his own. He plays all instruments and produces in a very lo-fi way : a truly side project attitude. "Enemies" is the most 'full band' like song on the first EP. The almost joyful chord progression is counterbalanced by Troy's fragile singing. The solo is wisely manually played through a tape player, adding to the originality of the arrangements. "One Last Happiness" is slow and melancholic, with a distorted lead guitar that reminds me of bits and pieces of the Prisoner's score (this is anecdotic for 80% of you I suppose). Still it's an unconventional ballad, evolving little by little towards a full band complaint. "Sweet Receiver" echoes "Where is the Assassin?" on Black Black, a piano ballad. I think it is possible to sing "Never Feel Sorry Again" on the chorus but I am only a stupid fan who is bound to compare these solo EPs to Chokebore albums. B Balthazar takes pleasure in backing vocals which send the listener deeper down in his sofa of lethargy.

The Red Spider EP works on the same patterns, sad getting sadder. Acoustic guitar and piano perfectly complete one another on 'You Could Ice Skate to This" while a faint metronome is sometimes wisely off beat. Minor chords and pain in a remote room somewhere in a dried up town with no lover at hand. The guitar on "I Want You to Want Me" reminds me of Aimee Mann in a way while the lead played with an E-bow brings in melodic harshness. In the end, "Red Spider" is a sad folk acoustic ballad you might already heard a thousand times before but here it hits you on a gut level with Troy's unique voicings.

Lauren told me once that in the end, it's always easier to write from pain than from happiness and she was genuinely true. B Balthazar's music is clearly melancholic and interestingly different from Chokebore's songs it is definitely rooted in. So please, be a good fan, buy it.


(concerts are scheduled through europe in the next months, check www.sweetreceiver.com or www.chokebore.net for infos)

-Angus Lost Tape Anderson

/may 15th 2003/