Playing as part of the insane Vortex Remover Album Release party at The Space with Hank Porche, M.A.R.C. & the Horsejerks, Saucy Yoda, Summer Eyes, and City of Pieces on February 4th are Olympia Washington’s Bullets or Balloons, an almost DIY punk take on the prog aesthetic. The noise made on Binary Minds will be celebrated at their own  release party on January 27th, and will kick start a small tour that will take them to Eugene and back.  

Since 2012 Bullets or Balloons have mastered a three-piece sound all their own, where complicated parts and smirky, moebius strip style lyrics snake around politically minded thoughts and abstract wordscapes without having to say too very much about anything specific. They are almost the heir to the throne of Schlong, save for their tendency toward original material and a prog over punk mission statement.  

Bullets or Balloons. Photo by Julie Eaton

Bullets or Balloons. Photo by Julie Eaton

Certainly, the musicianship and production take center stage on Binary Minds, evoking a Don Caballero sensibility with songs that are never more than 2 minutes long.  “A walking fountain of opinions / knee-jerk reactions and decisions / who really needs more time / or additional information.”  Even the delivery sort of circles the drain of what might count as a joke, while being entirely serious, too.  (Don’t we all need to re-think the complexities of being able to say anything, anywhere, at any time?)  They toy with pitch-perfect post-irony, evidenced in the micro-tracks – really samples of four to six seconds, at times – that pepper the album.  This barely cracks the 15 minute mark at 13 tracks, which makes it the strangest indie-prog album that’s out right now.  

There is a bit of the mid-2000’s math rock informing these guys, and tracks like “Billy Boy” almost evoke the groundwork laid out by The Enablers.  But this is a singular vision, by a group that is as tight as Pinback at their best, but with the brevity of Hüsker Dü’s first album.  If their performance on this records is any indication of what we’re to see on February 4th, then you will want to get to The Space early to see these guys in action.  Show starts at 6 PM, sharp.