The Balls - "Vasectomy"
(Fukco/45 RPM Records 2005, CD)
From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)
The last Storm Large and the Balls CD, Hanging With The Balls (see AI #24), was a good humored and craftily produced set of the Balls take on classic songs. Storm and the Balls don't do covers per se. No… they make the songs very much their own, often blending two completely different songs into one wild but finely executed smashing together of stylistic atoms. The latest release, Vasectomy, just goes by The Balls instead of putting Storm Large at the forefront. And while the Balls once again give the treatment to known songs, this go around is very different from the last.
The CD credits remixes to Auditory Sculpture, which is electronic musician Keith Schreiner. Schreiner has released a couple of excellent electronic albums of his own (see AI #16 &20), and was the musical mastermind behind Dahlia (see AI #17 & 24). Schreiner's influence is unmistakable throughout, making this very similar to the Dahlia sound, but with healthy doses of the Eurythmics thrown in. Of course Storm Large stands on her own as a vocalist and does an excellent job of infecting the music and atmosphere with her sultry, dreamy, lounge chanteuse singing.
Some of the songs were on the last CD but are completely reworked on Vasectomy. Songs like "Lilac Wine" and the Bad Brains' "Sacred Love" are like Dahlia songs. Sultry floating dream-pop for the lounge set. "Long Black Veil" and Nirvana's "About A Girl" both have a Dub like vibe, former being a very nice ride across an ambient but groove laden landscape. "Van Ministry" is a loungey, electro-groove dreamy blend of Ministry and Van Morrison's "Moondance". Wild stuff. But my favorite has got to be "Star Spangled Pushernoia", an outstanding glom of Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" and the Star Spangled Banner. What a combo huh? It's great! And you never in a gazillion years would have imagined a cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me" that sounds like this head throbbing electronic interpretation. Storm might as well be Annie Lennox on this one. Another winner.
Finally, "Shake It To Life" is the one original song on the album, co-written by Storm and Keith Schreiner. If Keith has ever mourned the parting of ways with his Dahlia partner, Jennifer Folker, I'd say he's found a more than suitable replacement. Overall, Vasectomy is a much more serious effort than Hanging With The Balls was, and you have to listen closely to realize that they're doing the nasty with all kind of known songs (except "Leaving On A Jet Plane" which is about the straightest cover of the set), but the sound they've created is oh so cool. This is my idea of spacey pop music.
For more information you can visit the Storm Large web site at: http://www.stormlarge.com.
Read the most recent Action Man account of Storm Large in the October 2004 issue of Aural Innovations. CLICK HERE to read.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz