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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
For Barbara Lee
Kimchee Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Listening to For Barbara Lee makes me feel I'm in an art gallery. Needless to say, I wasn't surprised to read that Seekonk singer Shana Barry is a painter and a sculptor. The album has a modern museum's pensive, clean, geometrical feel. The songs slowly develop over pristine and trancy guitar backdrops: each minute melodic change is potent, the music remains highly calculated until it reaches a brief emotional outburst. Barry's is a consistent power throughout the album- introspective, feminine, calming, maybe a little stoned- and it infuses the plaid background guitars with a soul. The music hits you subtly, and if you're in the right mood, the songs have the powerful, lulling warmth of Low or Galaxy 500.

Seekonk's strongest talent involves careful rhythm switches and crescendos that unnoticeably pass you by until they climax. "Move" and "Swim Again" end in encapsulating, shimmering swirls of sound- they recall the Velvet Underground, only without the rebellious edge. The guitars melt into synthesizers, sighing, and, in the latter piece, horns and a male choir. "20 Degrees"' slower tempo swims through a more symmetrical structure. It opens with an intriguing, bouncy spaghetti-western guitar riff, shifts into a briefly monotonous train of chords in eighth notes, builds up a lushly sweeping center-section, and then unwinds its way back to the opening melody.

The less adventurous songs thrive on their clever production, with sounds and instruments that pick at your imagination. "The Delivery" features a quiet, acoustic guitar vignette in the middle of seven minutes of swampy and swirly sounds; "Hate the Sun" has an elaborate, creaky background and snaky guitar riff that could fit easily into a suspense film.

Given For Barbara Lee's calming and white, trancelike state, it's still rather experimental. At first the album caught me off guard: I thought Seekonk was trying to imitate The Microphone's random, stream-of-consious state. To their credit, the music grows on you, taking on a sensible structure. It's an impressive debut.

Reviewed by Josh Kazman
No infro.

See other reviews by Josh Kazman



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