Little Barrie – King Of The Waves – Review

By Dave C.  //  Music Reviews  //  No Comments

The UK power trio, Little Barrie, may not be on many U.S. listeners radars just yet, but it’s certainly not from a lack of trying. The remaining original members Lewis Wharton and Barrie Cadogan, started the band around twelve years ago as a soul-funk, garage rock band, eventually switching previous percussionists to drummer Virgil Howe and adopting a more bluesy rock n’ roll sound as they released their sophomore record, 2007′s “Stand Your Ground.” It’s been half a decade since we’ve heard a peep from this group, but with the local and international release of their latest effort, “King Of The Waves,” questions such as “would they stick to the strict rock and roll framework of previous material?” Or “would they be able to create more stripped down, soul-infused rock?” have fans clamoring over the bands latest material.

Right out of the gate, “King Of The Waves” drops a funky, rolling bass line, while strumming out a fuzzy set of guitar riffs on the make-believe Scott Pilgrim, Sex Bomb-omb-esque garage rock track “Surf Hell.” The heavily reverbed strings and simple percussion hone in on the charm and catchy rock that Little Barrie has counted as strengths ever since they released their first record, “We Are Little Barrie.” The album then finds its soulful groove with the free-range bluesy fretwork and Barrie’s emotional crooning on the mellow pair of tracks “Does The Halo Rust?” and “Precious Pressure” — both of which sound like a sample of the The White Stripes, if they smartened up and hired a bassist. Barrie also doesn’t let a little thing like being a part of a minimalist three-piece band stop him from filling “King Of The Waves” with a jumbo-sized helping of effects-bending strings and smooth slide transitions, something that might be left for larger groups to attempt to conquer.

Another fun fact is Little Barrie‘s love of expanding on a repetitive riff and progressing from there, adding varying vocals and detailed melody until a full colorful picture is painted — ala the multifaceted song “Tip It Over.” There’s also an aged feeling to this record, as the tackily titled track “New Diamond Love” showcases a suspiciously similar sounding verse, mimicking Eric Burdon & War‘s one hit wonder “Spill The Wine;” if anything it makes for a greater nostalgic feel, pulling influences from bands that helped shape the three piece’s soul-based, rock n’ roll, while the squealing experimentation on the bridge gives the song its own fiery attitude.

Curious from earlier? Well, most of “King Of The Waves” could fall into some subset of indie rock, leaving only a select few outings to retain the band’s original, moody, blues-influenced sound. This record brings the band into the light, with a focus on groovy riffage and swervy effects, teamed with the heart-beat driven bass thumps and Barrie’s signature fuzzy (most likely 8-track tape recorded) spoken vocals. For those unfamiliar with bands like Primal Scream or the on-and-off UK- based 22-20′s, think The White Stripes or early era The Strokes, if Jack White and Julian Casablancas both grew hair down to their backs and tinkered with guitar petals and practiced in their garage. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: February 28th, 2012
Record Label: Tummytouch Records
Genre: Indie Blues Rock
RIYL: 22-20s, The Bees, Sex Bomb-omb

Track Listing:
1. Surf Hell
2. How Come
3. Does The Halo Rust
4. Precious Pressure
5. King Of The Waves
6. Now We’re Nowhere
7. Dream To Live
8. Tip It Over
9. I Can’t Wait
10. New Diamond Love
11. Money In Paper

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