The Barry Band – Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’

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There is a time and a season for… writing reviews.  And the season for this release is almost passed, as such things go.  As someone who very much enjoys music and who has devoted a fair amount of time to listening and writing about it, it’s sort of a “dream” that producers etc. would find my little ol’ blog and bless me with free music to review.

Well, a label didn’t.  But, a band did, and did so about the time I posted about Asheville’s Belle Chere festival… the city to which the band would soon be arriving to perform… last summer.  

So, Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’ has hung around on my “things to write about” list, a list which does not actually exist.  And this is unfortunate, because, had I made time to listen to this at the time, it might have mattered, somehow.   So, Barrys, if you’re out there, I apologize.

One reason why “indie” music appeals is that it doesn’t play to expectations of labels that try to direct a band’s sound towards certain profit.  For some bands, that type of influence can actually be good.  For others, their voice and vision is worthy of being heard outside of those influences…  Badly Drawn Boy, The Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian come to mind.  And The Barry Band.

The EP opens with an indie spirit, an a cappella rendition of the title song, itself sung to them as children by their father.  Humorous.  Off-beat.   

“For Your Own Good” is enthusiastic in its delivery, with acoustic guitar and harmonica driving the pace.  Unfortunately, the song sounds hurriedly put together, the harmonies detracting from the refrain, begging the question of indie vs amateur.  Additionally, whether eating vegetables is a wise theme to follow a message of going to bed on time is up to the listener.  But, at least it’s quirky.

And speaking of which, The Barrys roll quirky into a masterpiece on the following song, “Carnival(e).’  This song, captured in a low cost but effective video (at the end of this review), suggests that their humor is real.  Perhaps the first two tracks were well intended humor to fill out the digital space before arriving at what they’re capable of making.

“Three Years in Carolina” harkens to the honesty of mid-70’s rock n’ roll, both lyrically and musically.  There’s nothing exceptional about it, but there’s nothing not to like about it either.  It could have been a minor FM hit back when radio mattered.

The humor returns with “Drink One More,” including a tale of origins by each of the brothers.  Aside from proving their vocal prowess after the first two offerings, it’s now clear they know how to change up a song’s pace to keep it interesting, and they structure the tone of the music to suit the lyrics.  That’s no small thing.

The good stuff continues with “Love Something Too Much,” another well constructed, pleasing song that is iPod ready for those who enjoy light rock with good harmonies.  Classic feel-good music here.

And then, the CD comes to its end, but not a fitting one.  In the vein of all the 80’s heavy metal acts that felt obligated to include one soft-hearted love song in the midst of the mayhem, the Barrys close on a syrupy ballad that disappoints, sacrificing their humor and musical inventiveness for a “paint by the numbers” approach. 

Still, there’s much to like here, and the quirky factor, while maintaining a pop sensibility, is a refreshing update to the folk inspired music.  At the moment, a free download can be obtained HERE

3 of 5 STARS



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