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Album Review



Review Date
3rd August 2010
Reviewed by
Hayley Koorts

Call it a curse or a blessing, but the intimacy of the NZ music industry creates more of a family unit than a cutthroat battleground. It is precisely this cuddly, close-knit feel that encourages different artists across the spectrum to join forces and create something larger than themselves. BARB is the latest, and perhaps one of the most momentous, examples of this tendency. This time around, the collaboration consists of some of the most reputable names in the Antipodean music industry, basically, a bunch of musical whizz-kids who all happen to friends. The synopsis of their biopic reads as follows: Connan Mockasin, Eliza-Jane Barnes, James Milne, Liam Finn and Seamus Ebbs lock themselves into a studio for month and crank out a delightful slice of laid-back, smooth, afro-inspired indie pop.

Turning the superficial and quotidian into poetry, first song seems to be an ode to the rather fancy actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The lyrical content continues to stray from the usual staples of guitar pop, bypassing the hackneyed lovesick ballads and love confessionals. Nope, these guys prefer to sing about boozehags, mundane insomnia and well, heartthrobs of the 90s.

The tracks easily blend into each other achieving an overall harmonious effect, allowing the album to be perceived as a whole entity, free of boundaries and punctuation. There’s not a homesick ex-pat that can resist the endearing, unabashed Kiwi twang on the fourth track “Please Don’t Interrupt”, as they miserably hanker for pineapple lumps and sheep-dotted fields in a foreign concrete jungle.

Barb deliver an eclectic mix of experimental pop, sparkled with dreamy, loping soundscapes that sway to the ebb and flow of nostalgia. For now, they are revealing about as much as their enigmatic name is, but hopes of a nationwide tour are doing the rounds so my advice is to catch these guys before they hibernate over their next creative project!

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