Ballet School is a dream pop/electro pop trio from Berlin. Rosie Blair (vocals, guitar) met Michel Collet (guitar) while the latter was playing guitar in the subway. She immediately asked him to form a band, and they eventually collaborated with Louis McGuire (drums). All three had been part of the indie music scene in Berlin which is, from what I’ve learned, populated almost entirely by expatriots. Blair is from Ireland. Collet is of Japanese and Brazilian descent. I don’t know where McGuire came from, but for the sake of the story, we’ll assume that he’s not a native German.
Starting in late 2012, they started to get serious about being a band, and they’ve released a single and an EP on the Bella Union record label. As you know by now, Bella Union is the label that was started by ex-Cocteau Twins members Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie. Although the song has been kicking around for a while, today’s song comes from the Boys Again EP, which was just released a couple of weeks ago.
I got something in the mail bag today about a different Ballet School song, but I fell in love with this one instead. Actually, it started when I listened to the other song, headed over to the Bella Union site to read up about this band. I ended up watching the video for “Ghost”, and loved it. It’s a slightly different, longer, more electronic version than the other version that I’ve heard. I really love the video, which we’ll get to in a minute. First, give the song a listen:
“Ghost” by Ballet School
But seriously… This video. There’s a group of people in Philadelphia running a company called Out of Town Films. Their primary thing is to make “short films” (read:studio music videos) about traveling bands who pass through Philly. They also, on occasion, take their show on the road and reach out to bands who reside in the cities that they themselves travel to. So when the Out of Town Films crew went to Berlin (for something else, I presume), they ended up being invited over to the band’s rehearsal space. The result is fantastic.
I absolutely adore the extended intro, which features the incredible glossolaila-esque vocalizing that is really reminiscent of the best of Liz Fraser. That whole minute or so of dreamy intro is very much like an early Cocteaus song, complete with a mixture of live and electronic drumming. And did I mention the vocalizing? I freakin’ love it. All of this makes sense, given that each of the members of Ballet School is a big fan of the Cocteaus.
The other thing that I prefer about this video version of the song is that Blair’s vocals are much bigger, stronger. She’s got considerable singing chops, and she’s really belting out these vocals. It’s the strength and energy of her voice that reminds me of Nika Roza Danilova (Zola Jesus).
While the studio version of the song is certainly very good, I can’t measure how much I like the video version. Because of this, I’m imagining that Ballet School shows are pretty mind-blowing.
You can buy Boys Again from the Bella Union web store here.