Album Review: Balancing Act by Mike Holober

This latest album from the pianist (his first for six years) has plenty to offer in terms of the quality of the music. Balancing Act shows how his composing abilities allow him to explore different ideas and elements to create something fresh and vibrant.

From album opener ‘Book of Sighs’ all the way through to ‘When there were Trains’, the album is consistent and filled with life and ideas that keeps the listener interested from beginning to end – despite the length of some of the tracks feeling slightly self-indulgent.

It is as its title suggests, a real balancing act and filled with plenty of compare and contrasts throughout such as the cool and sophisticated sound of ‘Book of Sighs’ to the chaos and slightly more aggressive sounding ‘Canyon’, showing how an album doesn’t have to always stick to one style but to be successful it has to flow well – which in this case it does.


It is a delicate album that is filled with plenty of heart and soul about it – a feeling that comes through particularly strongly during tracks such as ‘Grace at Sea’ and ‘Lullaby,Goodnight my Angel’. Both are poignant and emotional, which is enhanced by the wonderful vocal talents of Kate McGarry, who appears on all eight tracks of the album – and not all of them singing.

The arrangements of songs such as ‘Piece of My Heart’ and ‘Lullaby,Goodnight My Angel’ have been cleverly thought out and work well as part of the album, along with Holober’s original pieces. It is not an album that ever loses focus or control, keeping that delicate balance of experimenting mixed with some traditional qualities.

If you like your music filled with plenty of variety but that grabs your attention from the very first not all the way through to the last note of the last song then this is certainly the album for you.

Balancing Act will be released through Palmetto Records on the 13th November. 

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