CD, Bald Freak Music, 2007
Wearing a suit but still sporting a shaven head, electropop/rock crossover Q*Ball is back with his third full-length album “This Is Serious Business”, released on his own label, Bald Freak Music.
After the fast-paced opening “His Name Is Goliath”, the title track comes up as the definite opening anthem for “This Is Serious Business”. An easily recognizable track, it clearly indicates how Q*Ball’s sound has changed from previous releases; while electronics still play a part, they seem to have a lesser role in comparison to live instrumentation which has become quite proeminent, in particular a heavier guitar presence. Though Q*Ball’s music is still a crossover from electropop to rock, this new album significantly leans towards the later. Also, some of the playfulness of the previous release has been lost. “This Is Serious Business” seems to indeed be serious business, more ‘conventional’ and less daring than previous releases and it suffers because of that.
Nevertheless, it’s still uncompromising and effective light-hearted and optimistic party music, balanced by melancholically themed songs. Unsurprisingly, love and relationships are a recurring major theme in Q*Ball’s songs, whether in an obvious or a more subtle manner. A couple of tracks, like “Music And Pizza Boy”, provide humorous respites and welcome touches of quirky discord in the album’s progression. If one track that grabbed my attention it was “Pez Dispenser”, building up slowly to an epic intro, it explodes into a rocking celebration of the virtues of Pez Dispensers – a very good example of a well-conceived surreal pop piece and showcase of Q*Ball’s talent. “Freak Out, Rock Hard” is the quintessencial party-song while “Baby You Drive Me Crazy” is an effective American rock love song. “Baked On The Freeway” is the oddity in the album, punk-rock seems totally out of place in this album and almost an afterthought.
Though it may sound to restrained, almost as if the artist is avoided to take chances, Q*Ball’s third full-length release is nevertheless a good release that competently crosses between electropop and rock, with mainstream appeal and keeping a sort of distinctive quirkiness. While “This Is Serious Business” did provide some enjoyment, I would welcome Q*Ball cutting loose in future releases.
— Miguel de Sousa