Baliset is a name that Greg Massi (vocals, guitars, keyboards) started to use back in 1996. In 1999 he was joined by a college friend, Adam Letourneau (drums). Between 1999-2006 Greg and Adam worked on songs which would eventually be on their debut album A Time For Rust. Greg was involved with two bands up until 2006, Maudlin Of The Well (1996-2003) and Kayo Dot (2003-2006, 2010)
According to the band’s Wikipedia page, Greg Massi left Kayo Dot in 2006 under good terms. He also temporarily rejoined Kayo Dot in January 2010 for the purpose of doing a one off performance of their debut, Choirs Of The Eye. This will take place at The Stone (music space) in NYC on February 6th, 2010.
In 2009, now with his focus on Baliset, there was the addition of Lauren Flaherty (vocals) as their official lead singer and Rob Macleod (bass). There was some guest and session musicians including another Kayo Dot alumnus Forbes Graham (trumpet) to help flesh out Greg’s vision. Also it should be noted that Baliset started as a solo project debut and since them has become a full fledged band.
Musically, Baliset has a post-rock sound mixed with progressive rock &metal and jazz & folk aspects. They’re one of the more original sounding bands to come out in 2009. In fact I think it came out without much press but according to their Wikipedia page was first released digitally in March 2009. Several months later it became available on CD.
This was one of those albums that required several listens before one can fully appreciate it’s jagged raw beauty. From the first track “These Moments Are…” the listener is hit with a wall of sound. The title track is one of my favorites of the album. It continues the wall of sound that feature duet of Greg and Lauren. Greg sings in both a clean and distorted voice (which is NOT the “cookie monster” style).
After a short interlude of “Machinery Listens To Love” comes “Black Light Moon” which has a pseudo lounge vibe with Greg handling the vocals. Another highlight, for me, is on the song “Dreamflesh” which has a combination of the lounge and wall of sound aspects of previous songs. It also features Lauren in lead vocals with some backing from Greg.
One minor flaw for me is on the ending ‘epic’ track, “The Echo Box” which after five and a half minutes has a rather annoying ‘hum” up until the ten and a half minute mark. The end of the track has a folky Beatlesque feel with Greg on vocals.
In closing, if you enjoy raw sounding albums that have heart and soul, then Baliset’s debut, A Time For Rust is a recommended purchase. One of the better albums to come out in 2009. There are samples on their MySpace page to further help you in decide
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on January 24th, 2010