Tuesday 9 August 2011

Little Barrie Is Riding The Waves Of Good Old Rock Music

The English band Little Barrie is relatively unknown outside the UK. But its members have quite a track record. Front man Barrie Cadogan worked with big artists like Paul Weller, The Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream. Drummer Virgil Howe did a lot of session work and also worked with his father Steve Howe from prog rock band Yes. King of the Waves is their third album and is full of rock 'n' roll songs that could have been recorded fifty years ago. And that's exactly what this threesome wants to sound like: a good old fashioned rhythm 'n' blues band.

Little Barrie - King of the Waves (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
This is clear right from the start with first track 'Surf Hell'. A screaming surf riff and jangling drums are the basis for some pure raw rock. It sounds like everything has been recorded in a garage without being polished up or recording tens of takes. This gives the album a lush authentic sound with a sharp edge. The songs did get enough attention though, since they all sound convincing. It all comes together halfway the record in the excellent 'Now We're Nowhere' with a lovely swinging groove.

When the guys take it a bit more easy, they not surprisingly are leaning more towards the blues. 'Dream To Live' is a laid-back track that floats by gently. When Cadogan isn't singing, his guitar speaks. And he's doing a great job at it. His solos are nice and gritty with lots of echo and distortion and remind of times long gone by. The rhythm section is lively and provides catchy grooves and riffs. One point of criticism is that it all sounds very much in control. The musicians could take more risk now and then and go crazy.

But that's just a minor footnote. The whole album breaths sweaty blues and rock that we know so well from the sixties. Anyone who still suggests that rock is dead should listen to Little Barrie. Maybe they are not breaking any new ground here, but they prove that rock is still alive and kicking. And when it's up to this band, it will stay that way for a long time fortunately.

This review has been published on ROAR E-Zine in Dutch over here.

Listen to 'King of the Waves' on Spotify

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