Home Read Now Hear This: Balthazar | Sand

Now Hear This: Balthazar | Sand

The Belgian art-poppers seduce you with style once again on their fifth album.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sand is the fifth album from Belgian art-poppers Balthazar. Led by Jinte Deprez and Maarten Devoldere — who sharing writing and frontman duties — Balthazar continue to satisfy their thirst for the less-rigid parameters that resulted whilst working on 2018’s Fever. Refining their approach to writing and recording created a fluid, uninhibited process — and a less restrictive blueprint undoubtedly aided by their own solo projects: Jinte’s R&B-infused Running Days under the nom de plume J.Bernardt, and Maaarten’s louche, torch song-influenced Warhaus.

As Maarten comments: “We did a lot of things that we haven’t done previously — we’ve never used as many drum samples or used bass synths before. So that was an exciting step for us.” Jinte interjects: “It was a very modern way of making an album, due to the constraints of the pandemic … we had to work remotely and converse electronically rather than in a studio.”

As Jinte further explains: “The idea was always to drop another album as soon as possible after Fever. It was fun and we wanted to build on that.” That feeling is reinforced by Maarten: “I can’t wait to play this album live because on the Fever tour we pushed the groove element further.”

The album artwork features a piece by renowned Dutch sculptor Margriet Van Breevort, who specialises in hyper-realistic sculptures. This was originally commissioned by a medical centre in Holland and is one of many that are synonymous with the artist. Entitled Humunculus Loxodontus aka The One Who Waits, it represents, as Maarten explains: “the way you feel when in a waiting room, obliged to wait and feeling self-conscious and awkward. The more we researched it the more it fitted the idea of the album.” A surreal and somewhat alienating image — difficult to pin down, much like the trademark cinematic instrumentation, pop energy and melodies that inhabit the musical world of Balthazar.

As they conclude: “There’s a theme running through these tracks, waiting, restlessness, not being able to live in the moment or putting your trust into the future. We’re at a point in our lives when we have to consider these aspects of life, that’s why the album is called Sand — after the sand in an hourglass.”