Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Danny Reisch at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The Cerebral Ballzy way is one of fire starting. It's one of throwing gasoline onto those fires and watching the flames catapult up into the air, moving like a piston, a double-helix of an inferno, lighting up the night sky as if it were midday. The members of the Brooklyn, New York-based punk band would stand as close to, if not in the fire, letting it cook their faces and roast all of the hair off of their bodies, if it meant that they could hear a bunch more people tell them that doing so was wrong and ill-advised.
The short and snotty songs the group makes are the equivalent of punches to the jaw. They are full of the words of horned up and drugged young men, who are letting their subliminal urges get the best of them. They are letting all of the voices and all of the demons in their heads take the wheels. By doing this, we're treated to a buffet of rapid-fire thoughts that are out-of-control odes to hooking up and blacking out. It's about tearing down all of the light fixtures, knocking down walls and any pricks that get in their way.
Lead singer Honor Titus lets the spit and the piss fly. You get a sense that you might catch a glimpse of ass and weiner at a Cerebral Ballzy live performance. You get the sense that you might not get out of there alive, or better yet, you might get out of there alive, but with a ton of new contusions, maybe a wound that could stand for stitches. It could be that you're so hopped up on the adrenaline rush that you don't even notice all of the places you're bleeding from and, really, wouldn't that be an incredible form of escapism? It would be like the way boxers and mixed martial artists work when they get into a fight. Everything's too tame, all so very pedestrian until that get their bells rung for the first time and the taste a little bit of blood in the corners of their mouths. It knocks the cobwebs out and suddenly they're alert and ready to engage.
Titus and Cerebral Ballzy ring our bells and give us the whiff of smelling salts, amplifying what we're in for, what we're slogging through. They bend down behind us, without our knowing it, and someone else pushes us from the front and we hit the ground hard. It's just a wake up call. It's rambunctious and adversity-affected music that will give you a shiner and will probably take your girl. It will rob a convenience store and it will spray paint all over the sides and interior of your car. It will slash your seats and your tires and it will still make you feel that you had it coming. You're an ass and they're just badass.
*Essay originally published September, 2011
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