Sometimes you go through your old albums and run across one that leaves you scratching your head, wondering â€œwhy did I buy this?â€ This happened to me the other day when I stumbled upon my vinyl copy of Balaam and the Angelâ€™s â€œLive Free or Die,â€ released in 1987.
I can vaguely remember being introduced to Balaam via my metal-loving fellow Wendyâ€™s employee friend Tony, who I talk about in length, here (part two is coming someday, I swear). Tony knew I didnâ€™t care much for metal, but figured with my new wave/goth/alt. leanings, Balaam might be right up my alley.
Admittedly, they did carry some Cult-isms about themselves and wrote some catchy little melodies. I remember shocking Tony when I mentioned that the single, â€œI Love the Things You Do To Me,â€ sorta sounded like the Replacements. In fact, in retrospect it sounds like something off of â€œDonâ€™t Tell A Soul,â€ a Replacements album that wouldnâ€™t come out for another two years. Tony didnâ€™t see it that way at allâ€¦after all, the Replacements â€œsucked hardâ€ and this â€œrocked.â€ Okay, then.
I recall liking this quite a bit at the time, but Iâ€™m hard-pressed to explain why now. Itâ€™s really not that good, outside of the two singles posted here. Some of it dovetails into completely banal pseudo-pop metal a la Poison, complete with â€œoh, yeahâ€s and â€œuh!â€s, but wrapped in a semi-pretentious goth sheen. It was also mastered VERY. LOUDLY. so even if you had the volume fairly low, you had to turn it down even lower to make anything out besides sonic sludge. Howeverâ€¦
â€¦Balaam did hit two homers with the singles. Both are more power pop than anything else, goth, metal or otherwise. Lyrically, meh, but your toesâ€™ll tap a bit. This was one of the first albums I ever bought in the CD format, but that CD has been long lost in one of my several moves since 1987, so I grabbed these tunes off my still-virginish vinyl (and yes, they were on Virgin).
Balaam had an album and an EP before this release, and a couple of LPs since, but Iâ€™ll be damned if I ever heard â€˜em.
Download â€I Love The Things You Do To Meâ€
Download â€I’ll Show You Something Specialâ€
Find out more about Balaam & the Angel at Balaam & the Angel.com.
â€Live Free or Dieâ€ peaked at #174 on Billboardâ€™s Top 200 Albums chart.
Neither single charted.