1. Intro (Taste Of Where I'm From)
2. Part Of The Glory
4. Money
5. Suki Muki
6. Porno Clown
7. Minimal

Balkan Beat Box are back and they're tighter than ever. It's been two years since the release of BBB's last album, big changes have taken place in the world and in the band's lives – and they've brought it all back home with the release of Give, their most musically intense and lyrically explosive album yet.

Having recorded their previous albums with large line-ups and many guests, the three core members of BBB wanted to take a different approach this time: they locked themselves up in a studio, with an array of old analog synths, and came up with this collection of slamming tracks which take their music to new territories.

With Give, BBB have further expanded the borders of the trademark Mediterranean-inflected sound they became famous for: they now seem to have incorporated the energy and roughness of those current strains of African, Asian and South American electronic club music with which they share a common love for globalized forms of ragga, hip hop and dancefloor electronica.

At the same time, the band's songwriting has spectacularly evolved, with a number of more rock-oriented song structures, and socio/politically-charged lyrical content.

Give was originally conceived of as "a more introverted album," says Ori Kaplan, "it was fun for us to see what just came out of the three of us".

"Yet, I think that concentrated our sound like never before," adds frontman Tomer Yosef. "When we're together, just the three of us, there's something that just works. We go into the studio in the morning and each of us just has an idea and we leave at the end of the day with a song that's almost finished. That's still incredible to me."

Brimming over with handcrafted beats and samples, Give yields up BBB's most textured sonic palette of their career. "This is our most hardcore album so far," says Tamir Muskat. "Definitely musically – there's more of a harder-edged, electronic sound. The songs and their subjects are also kind of darker and more political."

For the uninitiated, Balkan Beat Box first burst out of New York City's underground music scene in 2005, with a self-titled debut album. Founded by Israeli-born expats Ori Kaplan (ex-Gogol Bordello) and Tamir Muskat (ex-Firewater), the band built their reputation on explosive live shows, becoming an audience favorite and a critic's darling. BBB soon added frequent collaborator Tomer Yosef as frontman – his wild onstage energy galvanizing live audiences ever since.

The three emerged as a cohesive songwriting trio on 2007's Nu Med (their first for the Crammed label) – Tamir crafting hard-edged beats, Ori orchestrating melodies and Tomer writing uncompromising lyrics – and took their sound to Belgrade and other points East on 2010's Blue Eyed Black Boy. Meanwhile, BBB have been wowing festival and club audiences around the world non-stop for the last few years with their powerful show, garnering throngs of devoted fans along the way.

Inspired by last year's people's protest movements across the globe – from the Arab Spring, to Occupy Wall St., to Israel's own massive social protests Give captures the cautious hope and angry spirit of our time.

Ori puts it even more forcefully, explaining that Give is about "our dissatisfaction with the social economic and political systems which govern our lives and set the tone for what kind of world our children will live in. It's about our support to the various movements and revolutions taking place in the world, and the fight against corporate greed that has gripped our society and paralyzed or bought off our leaders".

This smoldering new anger is made crystal clear on songs like "Political Fuck" (illustrated by a video which is already being welcomed with a lot of empathy across the internet), and "Enemy In Economy", which tells the true story of Tomer's detention by TSA authorities after being mistaken for a terrorist on an Alaska Airlines flight.

"We were on tour and I had just gotten this new camera, so I was taking a lot of pictures on the plane," Tomer explains "and this one stewardess she got freaked out because there was this dark skinned, Arab-looking guy – me! – taking pictures on her flight. So when we landed they held us on the ground while a sheriff and 15 officers came on the plane and took me off in handcuffs. They had dogs on the tarmac and everything! They held me for questioning for over two hours before they let me go. I guess they must have Googled me or something. I have to say that the Sheriff was very nice, but the whole thing was just crazy and really pissed me off".

BBB's rage burns brightest in one particular suite of songs – "Money", "Minimal", "Porno Clown" and "Look Like You" – which introduce a character that Ori calls the "fantasy man". A stereotypical "big shot capitalist" on a collision course with insanity thanks to his empty materialist values. Or, as Ori puts it "He finds himself in a demented moral state, and leaves the façade of his life behind, shedding his skin only to find himself lonely isolated and mute". The consumerist is finally consumed.

One of the other animating forces on Give is fatherhood – all three members have become fathers since the recording of their last album, and Tomer explains how that influenced the band's outlook:

"When you have kids, you become a little more aware of what's happening in the world and what kind of world that we're leaving your kids. When we started looking around, we didn't like what we saw and that gave us the urge to speak out, to use the little power that we have to change things."

"It was kind of a crazy vibe in the studio sometimes," Tamir laughs. "We were recording some of our most hardcore songs ever, but our kids would be there, too, running around and playing in the middle of everything. I think it gave things a hopeful vibe, too… it reminds us that we're fighting for something, not just against everything".

That hopefulness emerges most fully on "Part of The Glory", a meditation on the role of social media and YouTube, which Ori describes as "how we all have something unique in us. How we have these glorious talents that we display on YouTube. But how in spite of that we live with this shadow society of migrant workers and "illegal aliens" who run the engines of our world, and how we choose to ignore them in real life'.

Like all great social protest music, from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to The Clash to Rage Against The Machine - Give offers up a complicated, complex message. It's equal parts anger and hope – forcing us to take a hard, sobering look at the world we live in now, while pointing to a better world that we can achieve if we choose.


BBB (BALKAN BEAT BOX) - Blue Eyed Black Boy
Blue Eyed Black Boy
Nu Made
Nu Med