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Slinky. Stylish. Sexy. Balthazar’s newfound loucheness suits them well. Hot on the heels of Fever – a warm, sinuous collection of songs shot through with Southern grooviness – came Sand, a record that heads in bold, exciting new directions, and cements the Belgian band’s status as Kings of soulful alt-pop. “We felt that with Fever, we hadn’t pushed it far enough,” says co-frontman Maarten Devoldere. “So that was the starting point – take it further.”
Balthazar never repeat themselves, and having excelled in numerous styles and genres – Rats’ classic pop and Gainsbourg-esque swagger; Thin Walls’ groove-laden, grizzled indie-rock – Sand confirms their songwriting talent and legacy as fearless innovators and restless creatives. It’s also a record infused with a special sense of poise and grace, and inspired by the joy they find playing live.
Playing smooth sunset jams and seductive, graceful rhythms and melodies every night bled naturally into the new material they were writing, a fluid and uninhibited process that carried on after Covid-19 forced them off the road and back to Ghent. Stuck at home under lockdown, the writing and recording continued, albeit in a somewhat constrained manner. “We had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio,” says Deprez. “It was a very modern way of making an album.”
And so for now, Balthazar take these songs on the road and spread the joy of live music and human connection. at Rockhal To feel alive. “We just want to share it with people, you know?” says Devoldre, “and we can’t wait to play it live.”