Balún: Something Comes Our Way
Brilliante Records

Puerto Rican trio Balún hardly tries to hide its Múm-like tendencies on its debut full-length Something Comes Our Way. In a dozen songs, José Olivares, Angélica Negrón, and Andrés Fontánez spin wide-ranging variations on electroacoustic pop in a style that recalls Yesterday Was Dramatic – Today is OK and simultaneously allows room for bleepy arcade sounds and synth-pop. The generally sweet and gentle character of Balún's material gets a considerable boost from rich, multi-hued arrangements teeming with violins, accordions, dusty pianos, bells, melodica, and guitars in addition to the usual electronic touches.

“People” somehow manages to weave Solvent-styled gleam with child-like vocals, accordion, and drum & bass into something not only coherent but pleasurable, while the pairing of guitar hum and hushed vocals in “Be Careful When You Walk” recalls Lush. Elsewhere, “A Surprise” and “They're Calling Us” exude a dreamy stateliness and “I Shouldn't Do This” evokes the nostalgic melancholy one feels when reviewing old photo albums. Though its sound echoes others, the album is consistently engrossing with a peak moment arriving at “Snol” where Balún wraps shoegaze guitar and accordion in the dreamiest of melodies.

July 2006