Sometimes you’re listening to a track on headphones at a reasonable volume, lightly nodding along, possibly sipping a morning coffee or beer, when all of the sudden the band launches into an unexpected double time, doubly heavy chorus, and you go “holy f*ck,” accidentally upend everything you were holding, and essentially do the equivalent of a listening double take. Before even reading this review, we encourage you to do the same with “Balance,” the newest track from Australian alt band Clay J Gladstone, so you can experience that same instant of amazement, sans warning label.
At the outset, “Balance” recalls a speedier version of The Strokes’ “Reptilia.” It’s got that mids-driven guitar tone played with leading upstrokes, lofi vocals, and a simple drum machine inspired beat. But 30 seconds in, it goes from a light suburban 40 mph to a highway cruising, potential-police-chase speed of 90 (or 60 to 150 kph if you’re in Australia). Suddenly, it’s a full on punk track with cranking guitar and bass, sustained crash underscored by precision fills, and prevailing, turn-up-the-damn-heat vocals. We were really expecting the whole track to reflect that initial indie pop rock sound, and were gleefully energized by the kick-it-up-a-notch punk rock twist. Luckily, we drive a manual, so we understand the mechanics behind split second acceleration (as we very accurately described above), and we’re also accustomed to the whiplash suffered from reckless double clutching. We are pretty confident that we will eventually recover from the incredulous double take we did with this fire-frenzied track.
Clay J Gladstone formed just last year with members from the Sydney, Australia metal and alt scenes. They’ve been busy churning out new releases since their 2020 inception and have impressively released five singles already. We’re excited to listen through the rest of their catalog and spin some mean new stuff this summer.
Clay J Gladstone - Balance