Ava Luna have refined their doo-wop soul meets punk aesthetic into something bold and glaringly defiant in today’s indie music landscape and their new track shows exactly this.
Electric Balloon was recorded by Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader, both of whom, apart from being in Ava Luna, have gained further recognition as go-to recording engineers within the Brooklyn music community. The album was later mixed by Jimmy Douglass whose lengthy credits include the likes of Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah, Timbaland, Television, Gang of Four among others. The mix of grit and shine perfectly captures and accentuates their unique blend of doo-wop soul, no wave and art-pop.
Following the release of their critically lauded first proper full-length Ice Level, the band spent an intense two week period writing and recording in up-state New York. Unlike previous efforts that were meticulously mapped out, the songs that would become Electric Balloon were “…a family effort” according to front man Carlos Hernandez.
For the new album, former Columbia composition student Hernandez relinquished the reins a bit, opting for a more organic approach to writing the material for what would become Electric Balloon. As Hernandez explains, it was a “…birth of confidence. I grew closer to my band mates, began to see the roles of a family playing out. Ethan cooks dinner for all of us, we make lewd jokes, and then ‘after-dinner storytelling’ takes the form of playing music.”
In the wake of Ice Level, Ava Luna’s sharp edges have melted away just enough, making it easier to connect with their no-wave grooves and soaring harmonies. Distilling everything from James Chance and ESG to contemporaries like Dirty Projectors and Of Montreal, Ava Luna have landed on an aggressively unique sound that still manages to be accessible. Hernandez goes on to explain “…the stories and moments here are clearer, as in a conversation. The moment appears, you grab it with your hands, screw the lid on the mason jar. There was no tweaking, no second-guessing. Julian’s mantra for the process: ‘First thought best thought.’….And for my part, I sing my best about encounters, friendships, some moments beautiful and others painful. A bike shop manager in New Orleans, a derelict porch on Brighton Beach, a yellow sweater in a kitchen in the Catskills, a water duct in the New Mexico desert…”
Ava Luna are a band who certainly deserve some attention. New full-length Electric Balloon showcases an exciting mix of tracks, from the funk-ridden beats of Daydream, right through the mellow tones of PRPL; this is a group whose sound is somewhat uncategorised but all the while, totally accessible.
Ava Luna’s new album Electric Balloon will be released on March 10 through Western Vinyl.