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Audio CD, 26 May 2014
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British trio Little Barrie — the group with the unrivalled, trademark blend of rock, blues, garage and soul flavours — are back with their fourth album ‘Shadow,’ and sounding better than they ever have. The three-piece of writer-guitarist Barrie Cadogan, bassist Lewis Wharton and drummer Virgil Howe, have slowly and surely been honing their sound and maturing their style since the group’s debut on record all of 15 years ago. ‘Shadow’ is the super-cool and confident sound of a band at the top of their game, full of brooding self-confidence, brilliantly combining texture and liveness. The album again sees Little Barrie working with their longtime mentor Edwyn Collins, who co-produced ‘Shadow’ at his West Heath studio with the band and engineer Seb Lewsley. Never ones to sit on their laurels or make the same record twice, the band build on the raw energy of their last album ‘King of the Waves,’ released in the UK in 2011, on an album that takes them somewhere entirely new.
‘Shadow’ arrives three years after the band reached new levels of acclaim and recognition with ‘King of the Waves,’ to scenes of fan mania in Japan and national and international touring. The relaxed urgency of the sound is inspired by Cadogan’s recent work with Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Damo Suzuki (Can), Andrew Weatherall and Pete Molinari.
Top customer reviews
The guitar tone that Barry Cadogan has on this album is sublime. I play guitar in a band and have been on the quest for this type of tone for years. Thousands of pounds later, I am still looking for it so can only aspire to such heights, tonally. His technique is also wonderful as a guitarist and has clearly bloomed and evolved since the last record. I should also mention that the marriage with the drums and the bass guitar sounds great, though the drums sound somewhat subdued in this mix. That said, the sound is immense for a three piece band, with lush reverb featuring prominently throughout.
The reason why I have given 3 stars and not 5 is because I don't think the album is very strong from a compositions perspective. LB have always had quite a quirky style, so songs are very diverse, but I don't think their songs on SHADOW are as strong as their earlier albums (from a composition perspective). I find myself skipping from one song to the other before the song is over. A point in case the track Shadow, which drags unnecessarily IMHO. It has a psychedelic feel to it, but I've always associated LB with snappy, quirky numbers, whereas this album is a departure from that winning formula.
Also, whilst I like Barrie's voice, I would also like to hear the others sing and feature more vocal harmonies. His voice is great, but gets repetitive after a while.
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