It’s extremely rare that a song manages to evoke the adjectives ‘ethereal’ and ‘anthemic’ at the same time. One is typically saved for the New Age corner of the musical spectrum, the other for stomping arena-rock choruses… and this song, the Ballroom Thieves’ ‘Only Lonely’ is emphatically neither. Like many of the Thieves’ songs, it is rather a synthesis of folk, pop, country and indie rock sensibilities all gathered under one roof.
The Boston-based trio’s signature haunting harmonies take centre stage on this song, with Devin Mauch’s percussion sparse, Martin Earley’s guitar driving the tempo without being flashy, and Calin Peters’ cello taking a back seat to her vocals.
The band’s first release under their new Nettwerk label, ‘Only Lonely’ is a lyrical masterpiece, seemingly innocuous on a casual listen, yet opening a window into the nature of depression as you dig deeper. Fans of their earlier work will find plenty to like, yet still be surprised; delving into the band’s back catalogue, the songs are a diverse bunch, with a little something for almost everyone.
Last year’s album Deadeye, a difficult and traumatic record which captured the struggles of the band members’ lives, still shines forth in this song, yet is also met with a newfound sense of self-awareness. Peters describes the song by saying “This happy sounding song is a collection of words from the pessimistic, parallel version of myself. She is a bleak force who might allow me to see the entire color spectrum but often abandons me in the darkest hues. This is a brief moment of surrender to the strife of consciousness.” To her credit, though this description might sound pretentious from 90% of indie artists, listening to the song it sounds like the simple and honest truth.
The Thieves have gigged their way across much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States already, with a few forays beyond that. November and December see the band plying their trade from North Carolina all the way up to Maine, with a brief break before a January 20th homecoming show in Boston.
“Only Lonely” is out now.