Storm Large and the Balls - "Hanging With The Balls"
(Fukco/45 RPM Records 2003, CD)
From Aural Innovations #24 (July 2003)
They call it "Loungecore", and I couldn't have coined a better term myself for the Balls' jazzy showtune style of morphing and mangling old songs (note the blender on the CD cover). Storm is an excellent singer with an expressive vocal style that I'd think would win her roles on Broadway, and the Balls are a solid performing ensemble.
The CD opens with "Star Strangled Pushernoia", introducing us to the Balls idea of the cover song thing with the Star Spangled Banner sung to the funky grooves of Curtis Mayfields' "Pusherman", with dashes of The Kinks' "Paranoia" thrown in. And if that sounds like the weirdest damn thing you ever heard I can assure you the Balls skillfully bring the two together. And that's only the beginning. My hands down favorite of the set is "Abba Gadda Davida", which gives us Abba's "Take A Chance On Me" and "Dancing Queen" sung against the classic Iron Butterfly riff. Another highlight is "Anarchy En Espanol", which is a jazz and Salsa rendition of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy In The UK". Storms takes the Latin-jazz influence to the next step on "N.I.B.", the Balls' tribute to Black Sabbath. And how can you not love a punchy Broadway showtune styled interpretation of the Olivia Newton John... errrr... classic "Hopelessly Devoted". Other fun tunes includes "Can Your Pussy Do The Dog", which is credited to The Cramps, Cheap Tricks' "I Want You To Want Me", and Bad Brains' "Sacred Love". Other examples of the Balls penchant for oddball blending is "Van Ministry", in which Van Morrison and Ministry are glommed together Balls style. And in less than two minutes the Balls pay a fiery jazz tribute to Goth on "Deathrock Stomp", the only indication of its roots being the CD credits to Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, and The Cure. We also get one track, "I Want You To Die", which is actually credited to The Balls. I think this may end up getting my vote for the most FUN album of the year.
For more information you can visit the Storm Large web site at: http://www.stormlarge.com.
Storm Large and the Balls appear in the "Tales Of The ACTION MAN: Blackmailers Don't Dance" story that appears in the issue. CLICK HERE to read.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz