Friday, 15 January 2010

Charlie Barnes
No Offenkk
Pipco Collective
Rating: 4/5

Ok, so there's a pattern to the ratings on here at the moment, but that's because right now I can't be bothered to write about something that doesn't genuinely excite me. Hence: Charlie Barnes- live his show is a very exciting prospect indeed. I was lucky enough to catch him supporting Amplifier at the Academy last month, and got my hands on this, his debut EP.

After a burst of digital noise, the EP opens with a flourish on 'Oradour'. On the record gone are the overdubbed loops and ten-part vocal harmonies, and in is a thicker, more orchestral instrumental feel. On songs like 'This Boy Blind' there is a more up-tempo approach that is more indicative of his live sound, comparable to other live electronic bands like the excellent Fears ('This Boy Blind' at times does resemble their 'My English Heart' , though I should stress that this is a compliment, not a criticism).

The closing track, 'Architects' is a suitably slow-burning ballad (again showcasing his considerable vocal talent), but it's track three, 'Geekk' that is the show-stealer. It's got a catchy piano and glockenspiel hook, combined with simple, short vocal melody lines and the glitchy electronic percussion that is his trademark.

The whole set of songs are obviously underpinned by Charlie's tremendous voice, which is somewhere in the Jeff Buckley/ Matt Bellamy school of singing. It's a relatively modern style of delivery, which suits the freshness of the instrumentation supporting it. Perhaps there's nothing truly original left to be done with music these days, but if people like Charlie Barnes stop pushing the boundaries we'll never find out if that's true or not.

For the interested:

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