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Tracklist: 1. Famous Animal 4:53 2. Bad Guy 3:30 3. Sleep Late 3:11 4. Beddie Bye 5:04 5. Beat Again 3:46 6. Killer Duds 4:06 7. Low Birth 5:03 8. Invisible 3:30 9. Eye On You 5:40 10. How Bright the Sky 4:49 11. Pards 4:04 12. All Fall Down 5:08 13. Come Away 5:34 14. Ambush Chorus 5:35 15. Solid Returns 3:53 16. Arabesque 3:17 17. Renata (inst.) 2:03 All compositions written, arranged, & produced by R. Marlow, J. Sidlo, & L. Kuehl. All lyrics: by Ross Marlow, except 16: by John Hackett. Line-up: Lisa Kuehl - drums & percussion, (French horn - on track 2) James Sidlo - electric and acoustic guitars; loops, atmospherics; (cello - on 3, koto - on 16) Ross Marlow - vocals, bass, keyboards (including electric piano) Guest musicians: Johnny Rodriguez - keyboard (on 1, 6, 7, 9, 13, & 14); extended voices (on 1 & 14) Bob "Dog" Catlin - tambourine (on 1); Sitar (on 11) Stephanie Key - clarinet (on 14 & 15) Gil Gonzales - hand percussion (on 4, 6, 13, 15) With: Michelle Alma Quinterre - violin (on 9) Dan Tellez - 2nd guitar (on 10) Katja Kohler - accordion (on 11) Mark Semmes - steel-pedal guitar (on 11) Ross - tambourine (on 13) David Mollenauer - cello (on 14) James Cobb - saxophone (on 15) Recorded & mixed by Honey Barbara at home in San Antonio, TX. Mastered by Bob Catlin at "Doghouse AL", San Antonio, TX.
Prologue. I don't know when and by what label released Honey Barbara's debut album "Feedlotloophole". Their second album, "1 - 10 & W. Ave.", was released by Emigre. The latter is in many ways a unique company, the motto of which is "Where design and music intersect". An original pasteboard case of this release contains the Honey Barbara CD and the twentieth issue of Emigre magazine. The latter, apart from the collection of unique photographs, illustrations, and various typefaces, features all of the CD details, including lyrics. This quality production represents nothing else but the Trinity of Music, Poetry, and Design. Back to the Honey Barbara album, it turned out to be that I was correct in assuming that the stylistics of it can be different from that of DreamLand's "Underwater". To read the review on this album, click here.
The Album. This is by no means complex music, yet this is not Neo. This is not Classic Progressive either, yet this music is distinctly progressive. Furthermore, such a unique kind of Progressive Rock, which is presented on this album, I have never heard before. This is both energetic and energy music, which, in addition, is possessed of hypnotism. However, I feel that it brings to me only a positive energy. (After all, this reviewer perceived this music as magical and just loved it.) On the whole, it reminds me of some of one African ritual music projected through the many-sided prism of Progressive Art- and Psychedelic Rock with the elements of Asian and American Indian music. I find this blend truly original and unique. In that way, only very remote comparisons can be drawn between Honey Barbara and some of the other Prog performers. The more or less appropriate distant stylistic relatives of Honey Barbara's music would probably be the creation of early Tom Waits (in the end of the 1970s) and late Manfred Mann (in the 1990s). However, Honey Barbara's "1 - 10 & W. Ave." is more progressive than any Manfred Mann albums of the said period, not to mention Tom Waits. A rather unusual and slightly ironic vocal is often as if laid back of the instrumental accompaniment and everything in general as well. However, the lyrics on this album are not only ironical. Most of them are also rather profound and, overall, decadent. Musically, the album was on the whole created within the framework of a unified stylistics. For the most part, the main instrumental arrangements 'swing' around the seemingly monotonous rhythms created by loops and especial cyclic parts by one of the real instruments. In fact, structurally, these rhythms are truly unique and make an overall sound full of positive hypnotism, thanks to which the main arrangements become more and more comprehensible with each successive listen. The main arrangements consist usually of interplay between a few various soloing instruments, and there is a rather large arsenal of them on most of the songs on the album (just have a look at lineup). What is especially interesting is that the electric guitar solos are almost always slow and fluid, while the solos and passages of the other instruments are most often mid-tempo and fast. These tempo contrasts make the arrangements very intriguing. Especially since they flow nonstop throughout the album regardless whether there are vocals.
Summary. All in all, it becomes clear that the music on this album is everywhere marked with the signs of a true and very original Progressive Rock. Honey Barbara, whose music doesn't fit any four of Progressive's 'chief' genres (Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Prog-Metal, & RIO), is the band of Fifth Element. It doesn't matter at all that their music is simpler than that by any of their 'brothers in genre' (or genre neighbors, if you will). Support the Emigre Company and allow Honey Barbara to invite you on a new musical journey.
VM. March 14, 2002
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