Ashley Bellouin
Ballads [LP; Drawing Room]

It’s likely this won’t be read until after my praise of Drawing Room hits the website (updated with link as proof of my tardiness), but not enough can be said about the versatility of the label. When they pivot toward pop, I expect it to be their next cornerstone. Yet it comes back to rock, so as I brace for more of that, it’s time for folk, or done, or compositional works, or…

Ballads is the latest rabbit out of the hat for Drawing Room, and Ms. Bellouin’s drone is indeed the work of love. I’m struggling to find the right words, because Ballads turns the idea of songs of sadness, love, heartache, and redemption on its ear. I feel all that trapped within these drones. There are twinkles of the eyes, palpitations of the heart, and crushings of the soul. It’s as heartfelt and romantic as Chris De Burgh’s “Lady in Red,” and yet as detached from any skewed meaning of the modern ballad in music. But the word “ballad” implies simplicity—and though very easy on the ears—Bellouin’s Ballads is not a simple pop or folk verse. There is real emotional weight beyond the veneer of love and lost. Bellouin, and of course Drawing Room, have once again questioned expectations and quashed them in the most delightful way.

Cerberus

Cerberus seeks to document the spate of home recorders and backyard labels pressing limited-run LPs, 7-inches, cassettes, and objet d’art with unique packaging and unknown sound. We love everything about the overlooked or unappreciated. If you feel you fit such a category, email us here.

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