Unashamedly "sissy" and explicitly queer, The Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields and the romantic pop of Jens Lekman, to create literate infectious pop gems. "Turn You" is one of the standout tracks and the obvious single from their highly praised new album I Blame Society, an upbeat slice of pure synthpop heaven that takes seriously and romanticises the idea that one might be "turned gay," in opposition to the more common formulation of queerness as something that nobody can, or would, choose. You can dance to it! You can intellectualise it!
Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse, with Marina Miranda completing the trio, the Ballet have released two previous albums Mattachine! and Bear Life. They have been joined by a few other musicians along the way including Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill, who left in 2007 to join JD Sampson in MEN as well as guest appearances on previous albums from the likes of Linton from The Aislers Set and Ramesh from Voxtrot.
Avoiding autobiographical or confessional modes, songwriter Greg Goldberg nonetheless mines his own psychological constitution and intellectual interests to craft songs whose overt musical prettiness is often contrasted by a dark and complex subtext. In addition to citing Stephin Merritt as an influence, Goldberg draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60's bubblegum to 80's synthpop and 90's indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways which rewards repeat listening.
This year's Rotterdam event was definitely one to remember.
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