Balthazar back at it baby!!
Okay, I honestly wasn't expecting it to be that solid, and actually, after hearing the singles I really thought they were stylistically going back again to their first three records, which, while very decent, sounded all exactly the same. And, while it's not any kind of enormous change of pace or approach, "Sand" is a second record after "Fever", that in my opinion has its own, distinct place in the band's discography.
After "Fever" took all the best aspects of Balthazar's style and compressed them into one of the grooviest and definitely the most cohesive indie record of the past many years, there was nothing else to explore, the limit has been reached, and it was the last moment to move on before staying in the same shit for good. And "Sand" brings this freshness, this novelty, those little things here and there that impact the whole listen and finally allow you to look at Balthazar's music from a different perspective.
"Sand" takes off with "Moment", which brings fresh percussion, funky little brasses, and just generally a more interesting instrumental palette. The next one is "Losers", the single I was worried about since it sounds like something from the earliest albums. It's really good though. The third one, "On a Roll" is probably the only song here I don't really dig - the vocals seem off, as well as some instrumental choices. But from that point, it stays rather solid, take for example the bold "I Want You", or groovy "Halfway". It kinda loses the tempo near the final part of the tracklist, when songs get more forgettable and uncharacteristic, but they still keep the same quality.
"Sand" is not a record packed with hits, and for the wider audience, it probably won't be as convincing. I'm really happy the band is trying the new stuff though, and as a person who listens to them for some time now, the change is really apparent and welcome.