27 December 2006

LITTLE BARRIE - Stand Your Ground - 2007 - Album review

LITTLE BARRIE: Stand Your Ground (2007) Album review
HIGHLIGHTS: Bailing Out/ Pin That Badge/ Green-Eyed Fool/ Why Don't You Do It
SOUNDBITE: "What you doing pulling those faces with your guitar?/ Don't you know that isn't very cool?"

Full credit to Edwyn Collins for his excellent musical taste and early championing of Little Barrie but having him produce first LP We Are Little Barrie was nearly as appropriate as appointing Edward Scissor Hands as 'fluffer' on a porn shoot. This time around, however, most of the production credits go to none other than veteran hip-hop knob fiddler Dan The Automator who does a fine job of giving the LP a very polished feel while retaining the band's signature stripped down sound. There was always a chance that the autumn's taster the Pin that Badge EP might have cherry picked the best tracks off this LP and while it certainly features some of the highlights, what didn't make it on could hardly be described as filler. First track Bailing Out kicks the LP off with a furious funky workout (and when I say 'funky' I mean in the sense of 60s Stax bands or The Meters rather than 70s stadium P-Funk fret-wanking). Clearly, though, the band didn't want to fall into the trap of producing a set that sounded like a continuation of album number one and Love You is the first of several tracks that betray a recent flirtation with rockabilly influences. It sounds great, though, personally, I'm less keen on this direction. Pin That Badge itself, on the other hand, has a break that will make both funk and hip-hop heads alike very happy people - especially if they're DJs. It is of some interest that Russell Simins of the Blues Explosion recorded percussion on the more heavily syncopated tracks and it'll be interesting to see how new sticks-man Billy Skinner will be kicking it live with that funky shit. Yeah We Know's whimsy makes it perhaps the weakest track overall but the tune and Barrie Cadogan's guitar playing carries it. Green-eyed Fool is a fuzz-amped rockabilly workout, Pretty Pictures continues to explore the darker side of early sixties guitar and Cash In is a sprawling pyschedelic jam complete with harmonica. Just Wanna Play continues the funk, Why Don't You Do It's guitar is brilliantly dreamy and the album ends on energetic garage anthem Pay to Join. Following the departure of original drummer Wayne Fulwood, Barrie ably provides all the lead vocals himself on this LP (in his usual slightly breathy manner) and there's a definite sense lyrically that somebody might be a little pissed of with the music industry /..and now begin to be seduced/ As the industry's amused../Cause you can't make it happen til you../Pay to join, it's gonna happen sooner or later/. This is kind of understandable when you consider that people have described the band's sound as 'retro' as if most current popular UK and Yank bands aren't at all influenced by late seventies and early eighties post-punk. Talent will out however and Stand Your Ground ought to get them some well-deserved greater recognition. Much better produced than the first LP and more varied - this is fresh, polished and frankly (at just under 40 minutes) all over a bit too quickly.
Released January 29 2007.
Listen to Little Barrie - Stand Your Ground


Anonymous said...

a bit harsh about production on the first one!

monkeyboxing said...

Is that you Edwyn?