Friday, 9 July 2010

Bigger than the Beatles - Balloon

Every now and then someone comes along, releases one lp and then in JD Salinger mode disappears from view. when the lp is one of stunning beauty it makes the subsequent silence even more baffling. You convince yourself that there must be more and so in older days trawl second hand record shops and now lose yourself in the outer limits of Google in the hope of stumbling upon another release.

One of those bands for me is Balloon who released one lp "Gravity". it was out of its time in that the songs are more in tune with the wistful singer songwriter stuff of the last few years rather than the early 90s when it came out. Comparisons are difficult but there is a sense of melody and craft that you get with Crowded House although the comparison is of feeling rather than sound

The band were a london duo of Ian Bickerton and David Sheppard. The lp was produced by Michael Brook and that is about all I know.
I've yet to meet anyone who has this lp and I'm not sure why on earth I bought it in the first place.
I've posted my 2 favourite tracks but all 10 are magical. The first one is one of those love gone wrong songs I like so much . I've no idea what Tightrope Walker is about but it manages to be soothing and sinister at the same time

"We're taking the blame for all of our faults
I'm calling you names like a parrot that talks
We're running away when we can't walk
We used to believe but not anymore"

Tightrope Walker - Balloon

"trust to my lucky dice , my rusty pocket knife"

The cd still pops up on ebay every now and then and you can get it from Amazon here if you like songs that take the subtle rather than sledgehammer approach then take a punt

If anyone does know if either of the duo went on to do anything else then let me know (it will save me the sporadic google searches)


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  2. I do remember ballon !, I wonder did they release Tight rope walker on 12 inch ? I think thats the one i have . At the time the band reminded me a lot of the go betweens . I may have the album on cassette , I may have to finally clean at the garage and have a look , when its less warm .

    Im listening to Bad Lietenant at the moment , is a good album .

  3. well how odd , the band appears to be back with some new music -

  4. jay

    thanks for the link and you are right how odd - I'd given up looking long ago!

  5. Hi,

    there was anotrher cdep after the album. I went through the same search a few years ago, until I found the myspace page. According to the singer Bickerton the upcoming album is still planned some time in the future.


    1. Bizarrely I was listening to Gravity today in the car and like you I stumbled across the album and fell in love with it, becoming slightly obsessed with the band and their anonymity. As far as I'm aware, sheppard still plays music whilst Bickerton is a financial journalist living in Holland. I did have a 'Straight to One' - a single released after the album on Embryo records. Lost it a few years ago though.

    2. I picked that up from some dark corner of the internet. Good as they are non of the 3 tracks quite reach the heights of gravity

    3. I know Ian Bickerton wrote lots more beautiful songs but hasn't released them yet. You hid the nail on the head about the timing of the release of the album.

    4. I bought the CD for 50p, and the album (still sealed) for 27p,way back during the big vinyl sell off. Gravity is a MAGNIFICENT LP, and seems to have so many layers, you can listen to it over and over again without tiring of it. I would put it in the top 5 LPs I've ever heard.

  6. Hi Matsrep

    I hope the lp makes an appearance - i didn't know about the other ep was it songs from the lp or different?

  7. Balloon. The Social London W1. 29/11/2016

  8. Try this:


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.