Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording by Ian Harris, Video By Jake Lyle, Words by Landon Kuhlmann
Gloom Balloon is a staple of Iowa music. Fronted by Patrick Fleming, the band collects the happiest and the most life ruining moments of our lives to pit them against each other in his music. Here in this session we're seeing one of the few versions of the band you're likely to see if you frequent shows in Iowa. Pat's all alone with a guitar, a piano, and a deep well of human emotion and experience to draw from. You might also have seen their multi-media live show with other Gloom Balloon-er Chris Ford, of Christopher the Conquered fame. Stripped down to the bare essentials in this session, Gloom Balloon offers us some baroque-folk pop with a gloomy twist.
This latest records pits Pat against one of the biggest and most daunting challenges a human can face: fatherhood. He's described the album as an advance apology letter to his son, but at its core it's an investigation of the places where childhood bliss meets our adult reality, and what conversations between the two might sound like. This is embodied the strongest in the first song in the session, which asks a lot of questions about Santa Claus in the verses but dives straight into self-hatred and over drinking in the chorus. It is boyhood amazement, boyhood wonder—the child in him is screaming out to the world as the adult in him is coming to grips with undeniable and dark truths.
Pat uses wordplay to his advantage, allowing lyrics to come off as happy sing-a-long bits when, in actuality, they boil down to a somber (and sober) seriousness. He laments with the same understanding of darkness as someone like Conor Oberst would.
Take some time out of your day to sit under the Gloom Balloon with us and enjoy some of the best music Iowa has to offer.
Gloom Balloon Official Site