Today I have the pleasure of telling you a little bit about an album that I have been eagerly waiting for. Why? Because I often say that I’m a big fan of the duo Balduin, Martin and Benedikt. Apart from the fact that they are really cool guys and were happy to send me all these tracks pre-release so that I could have some more time to think about them, they are also incredibly creative and surprising in terms of music. This time I have a review for you of their latest album ‘Vintage Vibes’. So, are you ready for a party with Electro Swing rhythms?
This bass line captivated and enthralled me from the first time I heard it. Do you know what I’m talking about? “Hep Cat Boogie” is incredibly rhythmic, and this is due in part to the section that consists of the sounds of drums and double bass. It’s impossible not to jump on this song! I love everything about this song: the Electro Swing elements, the clarinet (or other wind instrument) sounds at the beginning of the song, the great guitar solo… And that brilliant vintage vocal of Kate Thomas! Seductive, hypnotic, inspiring… I hope that the guys from Balduin will invite her to collaborate on some new track. Sha bi du ba ba ba baa… This improvisation doesn’t want to leave my head! :)
This track fits in perfectly with the current times. Only now do I realise how much I have taken the lyrics of the song “Wabababa” to heart. I’m writing this review a week before publishing it on the blog – I almost always do. And as you know, especially now it’s hard to predict what the next day will bring. I’ve already written some words about “Wabababa” in May 2021. – you can read the review here. So I won’t elaborate, so I’ll just encourage you to listen to “Wabababa – Balduin VIP Remix” some more – this version is the last track on the album “Vintage Vibes”. And I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from this song to think about: “We’re on the edge, so always live up to the limit, cause who knows if this night is gonna be repeated”.
When I was preparing to write this, I was afraid of one thing: after all, I have already reviewed some of these songs a long time ago! I didn’t want to duplicate information, but on the other hand I couldn’t resist the temptation, because each of these singles, including “New Ground”, forms a complete whole here, perfectly combining with each element of the “Vintage Vibes” album. This track is a combination of the power of Balduin and Wolfgang Lohr – each of these artists has added something from themselves that makes “New Ground” something you want to listen to, and listen to, over and over again. On top of that, J Fitz’s fantastic vocals… Ok, ok, I won’t write any more about his wonderful, enchanting voice, because I’ve already written everything in my November review, which you can find here.
This exaggerated, relaxing track is one of several instrumentals featured on the “Vintage Vibes” album. It lasts just over a minute and in my opinion is a fantastic follow-up to “New Grond”. What can we hear in “The Pink Cat?” A slowed down tempo, ear-pleasing piano sounds and the distinct sound of a clarinet (yes, now I’m almost sure it’s a clarinet!). My immediate association to the song title is of course “The Pink Panther”. And indeed, listening to this composition, the mood of detective movies appears in front of my eyes, which… will totally change in a moment, because in front of us is a song that is a real energy bomb!
I won’t hide anything and I’ll say it straight: in my opinion, this is the best song that was included on “Vintage Vibes”. Why? Because it’s incredibly energetic, sunny and instantly makes me feel better. A great song about love – a feeling that gives us so much joy! The text about “Yato” was one of the first to be published in the LadyDot Review series (you can read it here), so I have an incredible fondness for this song. I hum many different songs to myself very often, but in this case I always start with the saxophone melody (you’ll hear it between the chorus and stanza).
I guarantee you that this song will help you to chill out! As you can guess, it’s one of the swing hop compositions. Or maybe you found that out from my August review? Since then I have been coming back to “I Need Sleep” very often – especially on Monday mornings when I have to get up for work. You, on the other hand, can read more about this song – just re-read my review! You can find it here: https://electroswingthing.com/ladydot-review-022/.
When I first heard the intro of this song, my first association was Dizzy Rascal’s song – “Dance Wiv Me”! It’s a fast tempo, quite similar electronic theme and also that rap… Thanks to this I could go back to my teenage times and first parties – those were good times! :) Coming back to “Walk” – it’s another swing hop-electro swing proposition from Balduin, enriched with fantastic electronic elements. My heart was stolen by the last 20 seconds of the track, or rather by the trumpet or clarinet solo. No other instrument comes to my mind here. Remember that I write every review relying only on my hearing and knowledge gained during a year in music school – so here I have really big doubts.
As for me, this instrumental could be a really perfect intro to the first track from the “Vintage Vibes” album, “Hep Cat Boogie”. Piano and double bass, to which after a while somewhere in the background joins the guitar, and these keys after a while swap roles with the synthesiser – a real hotchpotch! All these elements should suggest that in a moment we will listen to a longer, calmer song. Balduin are masters of surprises, that’s why they surprised both me and you. In this case they are preparing us for another party, or rather post-party track… :)
Let the one who has never had a hangover speak first! This unpleasant feeling usually comes on the second day, after a really good party. Fortunately, the song “Hangover”, in the worst case lyrics, will only remind you of your headache, constant sleeplessness and unquenchable thirst. Or maybe it will be the opposite – all these ailments will quickly disappear? In “Hangover” we can hear the vocal of a wonderful SUE, whom you may associate with another track by the Balduin duo – “Mister Mister”.
What I noticed already during the first listening of “Hangover” was this characteristic motif between the chorus and the verse, which Mr. Jazzek also used once in his song “Gogo”. As you can see, nothing escapes my attention… :)
Usually in my reviews I write only praises. But this only applies to song reviews. For albums, I’m a bit more critical, because then I describe all the songs. The track “Feeling My Heart” is really nice in itself – it reminds me a bit of Colbie Caillat’s song – “Bubbly”. Great ukulele, perfect voice of the vocalist, reflective lyrics… However, in my opinion this composition doesn’t fit the whole album “Vintage Vibes” at all. I think it would be much better to release “Feeling My Heart” as a single. But remember, this is only my opinion! :)
And there’s that cat theme again… Since we’re playing with associations, the first thing I thought of when I heard this instrumental was the track “La Calatrava” by Parov Stelar Trio. I think “Gloomy Kitten” could be the perfect intro to the song just mentioned. As the name suggests, the track is a bit gloomy, dark. Of course, it is not a composition that you will listen to in order to improve your mood. But, for example, for a nighttime car ride around the city… Why not?
As you have already noticed, the album “Vintage Vibes” does not lack typical pop compositions. One of them is “Better Off”. At first I thought that this song is sung by J Fitz, but when I checked it on Spotify, it turned out that the vocalist is Okafuwa. I’d never heard him before, but from the first note he sang, I felt this fantastic vibe coming from his voice. Combined with a faster party rhythm and spare instrumentation, I think “Better Off” is a really perfect track for the upcoming spring and summer!
I don’t know if I can describe in words how much I love this track. This subtle melody played right at the beginning (I think I hear a vibraphone here – no idea!) immediately puts me in a positive mood. The lyrics are easy to remember (well, sometimes I feel like they’re too easy, because I learned them immediately after listening to “Melody” and now I often sing this song at home. Neighbours, sorry! :)), fast, energetic rhythm and fantastic, sonorous vocals. It makes me have to play this song twice more when I listen to it. Of course, so that I can sing it again and again! :)
I bet you all know what patterns Electro Swing is based on. And if you don’t, you should listen to the instrumental “Upside Down” to remind yourself of all these elements. At the beginning you will hear fast rhythm, subtle piano sounds. After a while they are joined by a guitar playing in a gypsy style. In a moment the keyboards will come to the fore and will be perfectly mixed with a strong beat of a drum foot and electronic elements. It is really a perfect combination!
I remembered a very interesting situation: once, when I was in one of the Warsaw shisha bars, someone from the staff turned on my favourite Balduin’s song – “Mister Mister” (and no, it really wasn’t me who asked the bartender to play it! Haha). You don’t even know how surprised and happy I was that in Poland someone liked this song so much that he decided to add it to the playlist played in the bar. I think several tracks from the “Vintage Vibes” album could be played in Poland (and not only, of course!). People love thoughtful compositions, careful selection of sounds and inspiration from other music genres. This is exactly what the “Vintage Vibes” album is like. I hope you will love it as much as I do! :)
Written & reviewed by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2022-03-07
Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing. On her own Blog www.jawizeruk.pl she writes about various music genres. She is a copywriter, so writing is her strong point. Anna likes singing (not only in the shower!) and cooking (especially Italian and Hungarian cuisine).