Album Review: Eszter Balint, “Airless Midnight”

Written by Album Reviews, CD Reviews, Music

CD7QEUKWoAAm5lTYou might recognize Eszter Balint‘s name from the television series Louie, in which she played (during an end-of-the-season arc) the neighbor/love interest to Louis C.K.  But here, the Hungarian-born actress shows her true talent and skill as a singer, songwriter and violinist.  Airless Midnight is her second solo album – her first in a decade (!) and her third overall.  Here, she’s joined by such talents as Dave Schramm and Marc Ribot, and this album is, indeed, a revelation.

Opening with “The Mother,” the slow-syrupy almost-jazz groove takes you into a dreamlike state, but picks up the pace and gets you moving; you can hear her violin punctuate verses and links to add an eerie atmosphere.  Her voice is warm, rich and embracing and sets the table for the duration of the album.  Harmonies on this album are supplied by Sam Phillips (!) and are sweet and balanced.  “Let’s Tonight It” is an uptempo rock-stomper with some tastefully dirty guitar; “Departure Song” has a country-folk feel with banjos and “Calls At 3 a.m.” is an acoustic guitar based bluesy narrative.  “All You Need” has a crispness and tension that builds into a rollicking cacophony on the ends of the verses — a punk-oriented violin solo takes the spotlight here; “Trouble You Don’t See” is a dynamic and catchy number with wonderfully skewed guitars and hooks and “Silence (After The Phonecall)” is a gentle piano and vocal piece.

Ten well-executed songs that have an air of mystery, sinister undertones, sensuality and flashes of pop brilliance.  Your head will absolutely be turned by the breeze let in after listening to Airless Midnight.