February 06, 1989 12:00 PM

The Balancing Act

Some people won’t listen to music that dates back farther than last week; other people acquire temporary deafness when they encounter any song that hasn’t been playing on an oldies station for 10 years. Both of those types may change their listening habits when they hear the third release by the Balancing Act. This Los Angeles-based quartet has mapped out a scenic route right down the middle of the musical road. Fans of old-fashioned pop will love Curtains’ sweet Hollies-style harmonies and folk-guitar sound. Yet those who want something new will find ample refreshment in lyrics that insightfully examine the modern mindset. With prickly electric guitar flourishes to illustrate the point, Generator presents the contradictions of a society that hates the sight and smell of power plants but refuses to cut back on its demand for energy: “If you’re anything like me/You breathe hypocrisies and lie/People hate the generator/ But love to light up the sky.” Guitarist Jeff Davis wrote that song and the rest of the album’s most intriguing cuts. One describes a rooftop with a wonderful view where a drunk young woman falls to her death. Bandmates Steve Wagner and Willie Aron chip in with Understanding Furniture, about a former soldier who spends his days silently in a basement, crafting strange furniture as a way to forget his past. In photos, the Balancing Act tends to look anything but hip: receding hairlines, everyday clothes. No matter. Trendy fashions and musical styles provide a quick joy ride, but these popsters appear to have their act together for a longer run. (I.R.S.)

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