After two months of touring the continental U.S., Brooklyn-based art-punk group Ava Luna returned to their old stomping grounds to commemorate the release of their fourth studio album Electric Balloon. Bushwick’s art gallery-music venue The Silent Barn hosted the album release party Tuesday night, billing other local artists like Railings, Ashcan Orchestra, Jerry Paper, and Ava Luna‘s tourmates Krill.
The album release show marked a momentary pause in their tour, which will resume for Europe in the next coming weeks. After seeing the band perform on Valentine’s Day at The Ho_se, I was struck by their frenetic, daft-eyed intensity. There were certainly moments when that energy shone through, most often when vocalists Carlos Hernandez, Becca Kaufman and Felicia Douglass were liberated from their mics, with a better capacity to let themselves loose. Elements of their more clamorous musical tendencies were suppressed, but it made for a tighter, more succinct performance.
The three vocalists traded turns at the spotlight, keyboardist Douglass taking over as the salacious, melancholy lead on “PRPL.” Hernandez performed fanatically, enthusiastically awkward on Electric Balloon opener “Daydream.” Alternately howling and speak-talking lines like “I’ve never been/ so put off/ in all my life” revealed the function of his delirious no wave sensibility. Even when she wasn’t squawk-crooning at the audience, it was difficult to divert your eyes from Becca Kaufman and her wildly agitated but graceful movements. For the first time, during the thrashy soul-punk number “Sear Roebuck M&Ms,” Kaufman unhinges from her electric guitar and leads with ebullient, discordantly spirited vocals. Ava Luna played one encore, a tune from their previous album, but before the last notes could ring out with a satisfying finality Hernandez leaped from the stage, joining the crowd to watch.