March 2011

Formed in 2008 in the suburbs of Atlanta by childhood and high school friends; Frankie Broyles, Woodbury Shortridge, Stanley Vergilis and Brett Miller are Balkans. They aren't pop, nor are they punk, but instead they straddle a delicious and intriguing position somewhere in-between.

It took only a handful of their frantic, youthful gigs to double their audience and land them support slots with the likes of King Khan, (the late and great) Jay Reatard, Times New Viking, Atlas Sound and Black Lips, often in clubs that they otherwise would have been too young to enter. Soon after that, Balkans were embarking on full East Coast tours.

In the US, Balkans have released three 7" singles through various local labels, most recently, 'Zebra Print' and 'Georganne' came out on their present Atlanta based label Double Phantom Records (home to The Selmanaires, Carnivores, and Roman Photos). The singles raised considerable blog attention in tatse-maker places like Vice, Nu Rave Brainwave and Creative Loafing, with the latter rating one of the singles their No.1 Atlanta Release of 2009.

The 'Edita V' single is a perfect introduction to the sound of Balkans. Their music is high energy punk, referencing bands such as Television with angular riffs and energetic vocals. It is not, at first, an easy listen. Clarity is purposely blurred and production experimented with. The result is unique - raw textures and the Balkans own sharp character. Though when the drums explode into their constant pulse until the chorus hits, everything changes. Amongst all the confusion and tension appears a beautiful soaring chorus.

'Edita V' is indicative of the self-titled debut album as a whole, full as it is with dark yet catchy pop songs. Another stand out track, 'Flowers Everywhere' gives off a melancholy nostalgic vibe with the melody floating along effortlessly. The instrumentation throughout the album is strangely tense but when the band reaches the glorious point of release, it’s all worth it. 'Balkans' the album is the product of over three years work, with the young band writing many songs. It houses their ten best, most straight-forward, energetic, and frantic pop-rock songs.

This is a no-nonsense LP, with each song being able to stand alone as its own single. It’s an energetic punk-grind that waivers between bouts of sincerity and catharsis, yet it is also heartfelt at times. Each song has honesty, rooted in the bad experiences of young adult romance, evoking memories of teenage lust and heartbreak.