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1 review » More garage rock fun this morning, this time from The Barbaras on the reliable Goner Records. There’s a bit of history behind this. The Barbaras were a short-lived band from Memphis who according to the press release had “shows that included props, costumes and groupies” and “staged orgies, deaths and resurrections at live shows” as well as a ventriloquist act, and ... »

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2006 - 2008 by The Barbaras
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8/10 Mike Staff review, 10 October 2012

More garage rock fun this morning, this time from The Barbaras on the reliable Goner Records. There’s a bit of history behind this. The Barbaras were a short-lived band from Memphis who according to the press release had “shows that included props, costumes and groupies” and “staged orgies, deaths and resurrections at live shows” as well as a ventriloquist act, and went on to form the Magic Kids after their demise.

Sounds intriguing, right? Well there’s more! Two of the six-piece were also in Jay Reatard’s band at the time and he recorded them between touring, telling them that he had deleted the recordings when they left his band. Well last year the sessions were discovered safe and sound on Reatard’s digital recorder, and there’s nothing he can do to stop them from being released now.

It’s actually a lot sillier and more twee than I was expecting, reminding me of a more rough-around-the-edges Apples In Stereo in quite a lot of places, with a few Beach Boysy touches and that nostalgic reverbed guitar sound, organ touches, and super bright melodic hooks and sweet harmonies. Basically it’s a mix of garage rock and upbeat ‘60s-inspired pop, and it’s a lot of fun in places but the twee-er numbers can get a bit syrupy for my tastes in places. When they get it right it’s superb, though - Breathing Underwater is a spectacular bit of shimmering dreampop with weird penny whistle wibbles and crackly ancient-sounding vocal harmonies, and ‘Devour the Jungle Deer’ drops a lot of the twee side for a punchy garage punk blaster with a slight World/Inferno Friendship Society feel to it, but much fuzzier. So yeah, a bit of a mixed bag for me but never offensive.


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