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Balthazar | Fever

The Belgian rockers' fourth disc will make you want to up your subwoofer game.

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All about that bass? Not quite. But it almost could be. If you agree with me that a great bassline is a thing of beauty, a joy to behold and a crucial component of any decent groove, then Balthazar just might be the band for you. These Belgian indie-rockers deliver primo basslines by the pound on their gorgeously loose fourth studio release Fever. And they deliver them in all shapes, sizes and styles; sinister low-neck slow-rollers; high-angle R&B pluckers; funky disco twangers, sinisterly minimalist thumpers, slinky melodic bouncers, you name it. But before you hand the MVP trophy to four-stringer Simon Casier, understand this: While that big bottom is definitely a big part of their appeal, it’s far from their only selling point. On top of Casier and drummer Michiel Balcaen’s gently syncopated pocket-dwelling rhythms, singer-guitarists Maarten Devoldere and Jinte Deprez fashion a stylish, fat-free fusion of understated pop and rock laced with pointed guitar lines, exotic keyboards and soulfully dusty vocals. You might hear bits of Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg and Firewater and dEUS and maybe even a few others. But mostly you’ll hear an album that makes you realize you really need to up your subwoofer game.