Local 913, Episode 6 - Balloon Ride Fantasy
Fans of The Human League, Thomas Dolby, Dead or Alive and other great new wave acts from the 1980’s, take note: Balloon Ride Fantasy has made your favorite record of the year. Formed in 2012, Balloon Ride Fantasy’s roots can be traced to the now-defunct Pittsburgh prog-rock band, Federali. Members Chris Olszewski and Phil Conley released the EP Monocle City under the name Balloon Ride Fantasy. They caught the attention of vocalist Bethany Berkstresser, former member of Rainstation Zero, who had been keeping tabs on the Federali guys for a while. They added Berkstresser to their lineup along with keyboardist Jordan Wood, bassist Brad Schneider of the Pittsburgh group The Incline, and drummer Brian Ganch. While Monocle City was a great mix of indie-rock and pop, their new self-titled LP is an all-out new wave affair, a glorious tribute to the music and pop-culture of the 80’s. Balloon Ride Fantasy takes their affection for the sound of the 80’s even further than their contemporaries like MGMT or Foster The People. They even do one of my favorite things, where they named a song after their band. That’s right! The last song on the new record is called “Balloon Ride Fantasy!” Lyrically inspired by certain films of the 80’s like “Legend,” “Gothic” and “Blade Runner,” Balloon Ride Fantasy is not afraid to explore themes of sci-fi and fantasy. The incredible part is that they pull it off. The new record is an enjoyable listen, even if the songs are about unicorns and magic spells. Or rather, is it especially enjoyable because the songs are about unicorns and magic spells? Depends on who you ask, I guess, but regardless, check out their new self-titled album.