The Great Fraud: Brass Balloon Review

The Great Fraud’s Brass Balloon may be the perfect remedy for the winter blues this season; with just the right mix of fire, emotion, and serious blues, Brass Balloon can warm the December soul. The New Jersey-based band was co-founded in 2012 in the wake of the disintegration of several bands when lead guitarist and vocalist Joe Marrero and blues harmonica player Phil “Reese” Karlan got together to jam. With bassist Taso Zahariadis and drummer Tony Marchesani, The Great Fraud’s fire was ignited.

Brass Balloon draws heavily from blues and psychedelic rock to create a unique, electrifying sound that the band describes as “a collision of Fire & Mojomotion!” Throughout the album, a Jim Morrison influence finds itself grappling with a powerful Led Zeppelin-fueled force that, when heavily accented with Karlan’s passionate harmonica, creates a sound exploding with emotion. The album introduces all of these elements in the cautionary opening track “Never Trust a Gypsy.” “Mystery Man” showcases the band’s Morrison influence as well as Karlan’s heart-wrenchingly bluesy harmonica, while “And The Gods Came Down” seems to nod to the band’s seventies rock influence.

“I Love That Girl” is a fast-paced blues track with a great rhythm and plenty of room for both Marrero’s shredding and Karlan’s subtleties. “Let’s Go out and Play” is a slower blues track that packs a hard punch, dripping with sorrow and sizzling with passion. “Avalon Fields” is a calmer track with a dreamy, psychedelic tone that provides a refreshing break with some of the album’s more aggressive tracks at just the right time. “Love Ain’t Simple” is a great ode to classic blues rock, as is the 12-bar “Sweet Lorraine.” “Do You Really Love Your Man,” the album’s longest track, features an amazing dialogue between Karlan on the harmonica and Marrero on guitar that puts a spin on the traditional guitar solo. The album’s contemplative closing track “Dream Sailing” concludes the album with a psychedelic, philosophic reflection on a simple sunny day, reminding us a bit of The Beatles.

The Great Fraud is a band with a great genuine sound that successfully straddles the line between classic blues rock and new blues as we head into the year 2014. In addition to Morrison and Led Zeppelin, the band cites some of their favorite artists as Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, the Foo Fighters, the Black Keys, Gov’t Mule, and Muddy Waters. With such a wide range of musical influence, it’s no surprise that Brass Balloon explodes with an energy that is so clearly inspired by iconic blues figures, yet powerfully genuine in the fire of its own unique sound.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Mystery Man
– I Love That Girl
– Let’s Go Out and Play
– Avalon Fields
– Do You Really Love Your Man

The Big Hit

– Mystery Man

Review by Eileen Quaranto

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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