It’s day 5 of the great 2020 COVID-19 quarantine. It’s hard to know how to feel. Sometimes you want to find some music that is true to how you’re feeling, but you want to escape a bit as well.
Balcony Talk occupies a nice pop punk influenced alt-rock middle ground for this strange time. The Brooklyn, NY–based artist has to be feeling a whole lot of things himself these days! So, it’s no surprise that his Calendar Daze EP covers a lot of ground.
The meaning of his EP is profound to me. His bandcamp description says, “The meaning of Calendar Daze is how easy it can be to get caught up in our daily work routine as we essentially live by the calendar. Sometimes forgetting what’s really important in our personal lives and investing so much, we become selfish and overlook the people we care about when they need us. We get caught up in a ‘Calendar Daze’.” I’ve been thinking about how I can use this down time when everyone’s in quarantine. Yes, lots about this situation is tragic—make no mistake. However, a big time silver lining I see here is the chance to slow down and take inventory of what’s really important. Sometimes a forced break in routine is healthy. I predict families will emerge closer and lots of great creative output will move mountains.
“Iamlostwithoutyou” is a fun song that reminds me a bit of Tiny Moving Parts. It accomplishes a lot in a short period of time, even cramming in a short change in time signature in the bridge. My favorite line here might be “I feel so lost without you / let’s not be so pessimistic.” I appreciate leaving some hope in the angst.
“Scapegoat” is straight up punk with a hardcore influence. “I can’t sleep / it’s haunting me / the thought of inevitability” is something most everyone can relate to, especially now. Making peace with the worst case scenario is a struggle easier said than done. The contrast between the clean and rough vocals here juxtaposes rage and resignation well.
No pop punk record is complete without a solid breakup song, and that’s what “Why Seven Eight Nine” is. I think there was a Before Their Eyes song titled after the first half of that phrase… but I digress. This song isn’t anything groundbreaking for me, but it’s a welcome escape and connects me with a period of music listening that I’ve mostly left behind. I should be less afraid to indulge in that period!
The final song on the EP might be the most thought provoking of them all, because self-punishment is something that is explored here, in a way that is surprisingly upbeat. My favorite line might be “I’m gonna cut off bad habits with a surgical knife.” Self-mutilation (literal or not) is never a good thing, but it can appear that way if you’re careful and purposeful through the process.
Balcony Talk has the makings of staple in the emo scene, but he’s been surprisingly quiet thus far. Maybe this EP will wake some folks up.