Music

Little Barrie: EP

Zeth Lundy

Four-song teaser from London-based trio is fun and rambunctious, but leaves many doubts as to what can be expected from the band.


Little Barrie

EP

Label: Artemis
US Release Date: 2005-02-22
UK Release Date: 2004-09-27
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

The British press has made Little Barrie out to be some new-fangled conglomeration of pub rock, funk, and soul, like the Faces covering the Meters and Jimi Hendrix. Collective deep breath: let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Listening to Little Barrie's four-song EP (a precursor to the full-length We Are Little Barrie, recently released in the UK), one can hear where the profusely confident allusions are drawn from. "Burned Out" sounds like a barnyard rendition of an unwieldy Stax groove, or: as the guitars chafe like rusty chains, picture a young Steve Winwood in overalls sweating through a white, British version of the JBs, hollering, "Tell ya what I mean!" There's a confident funk strut embedded somewhere within "Be the One", or perhaps it's just an illusory effect caused by the restless Noel Redding-esque bass vamp. For a band composed of three English boys, Little Barrie gets infectiously excited about the chunky grooves it sows. Though they can't hold a candle to any American funk or soul heavyweight (insert your choice here), they're awarded a gold star for effort.

So OK, gold stars are as good as a feigned smile. We all know that. Let's get down to the real nitty-gritty, then: Little Barrie's EP isn't exactly formidable enough to make an overwhelming impression, but it is a brief, fun slice of rock 'n' roll. It's got a loose, rickety vibe, courtesy of the band's slackened posture and Edwyn Collins's shellacked production. Collins recorded the band's full-length (from which three of EP's four songs are taken) in his London studio, seemingly nailing that sort of retro-yet-untraceable sound that defines the band. The drums occasionally distort from overexcitement in "Be the One"; meanwhile, "Thinking on the Mind" smacks of a vision altered by paisley-tinted sunglasses.

Lead singer and guitarist Barrie Cadogan, who has been tapped by both sides of the Smiths' divide (performing for Johnny Marr's Healers and Morrissey's live shows), coaxes hearty lumps of rigid sweetness from his guitar. He sneaks some oily licks into the rough-hewn "Burned Out", barks out some fuzzy stutters in "Be the One", and shades the instrumental "Mud Sticks" without the utmost subtlety. More impressive are Cadogan's periodic electrical sparks emitted in "Free Salute", the lead-off track from We Are Little Barrie (not included here). On first listen, the song appears to make good on the bits of potential promised by EP. It locks into a groove more weathered and undeniable than any offered on this teaser, which leads me to believe that better offerings are yet to come.

5

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image