Friday, March 16, 2007


First impressions of BARR/Brendan Fowler: This is different! Kind of crazy, and sometimes it seems too silly to be palette-able, but enjoyable none-the-less. Reminds me a wee bit of Bradley Hathaway.

It's nice that this guy's out there doing his own thing, for his own enjoyment - fuck the boundaries. The album title, Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case, is apt - relishing in the fact that musical foundations are there to be built upon, and trying to push his art as far as it will go. Basically he's doing provocative and aggressive spoken-word tracks over improvisational drumming - and the odd piano. Kind of like Arab Strap on ecstasy, coming up and coming down all at once.

When I listen to the mellower tracks off the album, I'm reminded of JD (Dr Cox: Newbie) in Scrubs. The way the show breaks down twice an episode so that JD can come to terms with what's been happening, transforming the mundane into seemingly profound life-lessons. BARR is a more aggressive JD, basically. But underneath all the posturing he's just confused and trying to make sense of this crazy world; looking for affection and appreciation along the way. He creates a sense of bafflement and befuddledness through the ad-libbed way that the song's come across - the way he will begin a sentence and then go back on it, correcting himself.


Is All For Updated
My List of Demands

"Is All For Updated" discusses fanzines, people who dislike his music, fashion, aesthetics, destruction of televisions, toning down affection. It also displays his blatant disregard for boundaries, his silly sense of humour: "R is for "They help us", and R is for "No they don't!"

"Us" explores the idea of art as catharsis; does an experience become less intense if you sing about it constantly? Of course, it's well-known that talking helps (British Telecom: "it's good to talk"), yet because of the sincerity, and perhaps the uncertainty, of the spoken-word, the simple discussion of reality does take on a constructive shine of pseudo-philosophy. However, the song also explores the idea of incorrectness: is it right to parade the scars of your life in front of the whole world? To shed your skin in front of an audience? "I saw you play and I liked it 'til I heard what you were saying; your words, about God and your mother dying from cancer. I was so offended. How can he throw that at people?"

Although "My List of Demands" is dark and brooding - at times almost a chore to listen to - it's lightened by the vocal inflections, the careless words "You said a fucked up mean thing to someone and ruined it all everything forever, FOREVER, and that's cool. I mean, you did it, whatever", along with the subtle, bitter, humour, "at your cost! you are being charged twice!" The song explores the topic of performance, audience appreciation, the feeling you get when you defend yourself, your family, your friends, the beauty of righteous indignation. Ideas are thrown up in the air and then a back is turned on them, people are at once bastards and friends, tangents are created and then followed. [Buy]

No comments: