BY FRED MILLS
The crowd-funded Ballet the Boxer, the fifth release from the Jimmy Gnecco-helmed Ours, comes on the heels an extended major label stint, and that time spent in the big leagues clearly rubbed off on the group. It’s a big, muscular sound that Ours lays forth, dipping decisively back to the ‘70s where singer-songwriterdom intersected regularly with the arenas; your affection for that period aesthetic will most likely determine your appreciation herein.
From Gnecco’s near-operatic pipes, which suggest a summit between Freddie Mercury and Steve Perry, to the fat drums and urgently pulsing basslines to the searing swipes of reach-for-the-sky guitar riffs, these guys have studied the classics. Standout tracks include “Emergency,” restless yet purposeful; “Coming for You,” lining its edges with hints of strings and an airy, atmospheric vibe; and penultimate number “Get ‘Em Out,” which moves the lens forward a decade to occupy melodic, emotionally volatile territory reminiscent of vintage U2, particularly during Gnecco’s closing-moment wails and yelps.
Sure, there’s a bit of bombast going on here that may rankle some in this era of austerity. But there’s also an escapist infectiousness in the way Ours simply goes for it that is, frankly, welcome.
DOWNLOAD: “Get ‘Em Out,” “Coming for You”