Barbarisms – Barbarisms (Control Freak Kitten) LP/CD/DL
Lo-fi trio, Barbarisms, release their debut album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
Imagine if you will, Bob Dylan, Art Garfunkel and Brian Molko sat around a campfire on an enforced American road trip. Maybe you can’t. Let Barbarisms help. One third American (Nicholas Faraone) and two thirds Swedish (Tom Skantze and Robin Af Ekenstam), Barbarismsgive us their debut offering of eleven simple yet complicated songs of loving quality.
Opener and recent single, Easier All The Time, is haunting as it trundles along with a contagious chorus and vocals that fade in and out with incurable ease. The accompanying video does nothing to halt the spookiness as a young Anthony Perkins continually faces his demons and tries to outwit them in the chase.
All the songs are simple but hold a certain quality which is difficult to dismiss. Whether it be the forlorn vocals or the sparse instrumentation, what’s easy to observe is that their debut is a thoroughly entertaining offering. McCauley Culkin On Pizza references sucking on electric cigarettes and simple things, but the song is far from that.
It’s difficult to pin down what makes Barbarisms so delightful, they just are – as the outdoor sounding production brings even more to the drunken, smokey party which must surely be a factor of each get together. Ekenstam fell victim to cancer during the recording of the album, resulting in the amputation of an elbow and forearm. Undeterred, the trio used a kitchen spatula taped to a drum stick to allow him to play percussion. A quite remarkable claim, but entirely believable.
Their brand of lo-fi indie folk is appealing to say the least. A Wash Of Teeth And Eyes is maybe as commercial as they get but the album continues to sound like it was recorded late one evening out in the garden. The titles are as curious as the songs themselves. Explorer 10 Olga Khokhlova weaves a wondrous tapestry of gilt-edged sound and emotion. Closer, Figures Of Men is unpretentious and brings the album to a bizarre, completely unexpected ending. A lovely, captivating album containing expressive words and unsophisticated intelligence.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.