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Music Reviews

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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
My Life In Rooms

Rating: 7/10 ?

November 9, 2006
When the first staff email about this release made the rounds Barzin was described as "like Friends of Dean Martinez meets American Analog Set or something," which turned out to be about as accurate a description as a short administrative correspondence could deliver. I checked out a couple of tracks on the Barzin mySpace outpost and found them to be dusty, somber, cabin-feverish affairs with sparse instrumentation, languid slide guitars and minimalist percussion taps. In short, the music was nice but not exceptionally remarkable, and my web surfing quickly delivered me to the more animated tones of leaked Animal Collective tracks. Just as quickly as it came in, Barzin was gone from my thoughts.

That was three weeks ago, and since then I've hardly considered the band, my days spent thumbing rides and avoiding ticketmen on trains across Europe and Africa, the frantic shuffle of tired, hung-over feet and the cold nylon of an overstuffed backpack yearning for ramped-up IDM beats more than reverberating violin and hushed poetics. Back in Paris, however, the dipping thermometer and clouding skies seem to warm to My Life In Rooms like my bones to a cup of hot tea, and by the time "Just More Drugs" sounds out with a muted horn halfway through the album I'm ready for bed and a book. No matter that the clock reads 11 in the morning.

I do like this album very much, but in honesty I must confess that I'm a sucker for depressive slow burners. And that is really all My Life In Rooms has to offer up, unfortunately. The music is varied from track to track - the chunky "Acoustic Guitar Phase" smoothed over by languid strings and soft vibraphone chimes is noticeably different than the titular closing track, which employs the vibes to more striking effect - but the focal point is this Barzin fellow's sultry coffeehouse voice, which tires over the course of the album. Anyone contemplating suicide or perhaps scoring a black and white film dotted with empty desert or high plains landscapes will find My Life In Rooms to be a seriously rich soundtrack, but it is hard to get into the album when doing much else, save for perhaps, drinking, fucking or sleeping. Not bad, but in a world where a thousand albums are released each day, Barzin could do a little more to stick in my craw.

Reviewed by Lukas Shipman

See other reviews by Lukas Shipman



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