Under Review

The Ballantynes

Faith/Velvet 7"   (La-Ti-Da Records)

Review by Slavko Bucifal

The latest seven-inch from Vancouver’s greatest garage-soul-rock band (is there even any competition?) continues the precedent established by their previous releases over the past few years: the tracks burst with crazy, infectious energy.

  Though the Ballantynes hail from our very own raincoast, their music never dabbles with depressive elements. Instead, they have no trouble accomplishing their goal of rewinding the clock 40 years to the great era of soul, all the while coercing us to dust off our dancing digs. Even “Misery,” a track off their previous seven-inch, does little to appease its title and instead provides ample opportunity for involuntary rhythm-based spasms.

  That high-octane vibe continues with Faith/Velvet, recorded once again with the familiar Phil Spector-like ambience provided by the venerable Felix Fung. “Faith” features an incredibly contagious chorus and an overall aesthetic that sounds like a mutant cross between Aretha Franklin, Sly & The Family Stone, and a collection of east-side punks. The B-side is only a term of reference and not at all indicative of the role “Velvet” will play on your psyche. The finish is brilliant on this one, with rock ‘n’ roll lunacy destined to ignite what would already be a frenzied crowd, should this be heard in a live setting.

  Faith/Velvet captures The Ballantynes’ lively spirit from their stage show, which is an experience not to be missed. Their unpretentious brand of pick-me-up is destined to once again jingle and jangle its way into our ears and hearts, and the format they choose is perfect delivery. Faith/Velvet is the third single from this sprightly seven-piece band and it’s a needed departure from Vancouver’s other more morose (but brilliant) offerings.