In rock music, perfection is the enemy. Few things throw off a good rock song like too much polish. There should be a bit of sloppyness, jagged edges, something reminiscent of the garage instead of an expensive recording studio.
Barnwell displays such hesitant grace on “Everything’s Coming Up”, the new EP from the Columbia quartet. Singer/guitarist Tyler Gordon’s voice is more about passion than precision. Rhythms don’t sound like they’re being played on a click track. The guitars are raw.
That’s not to say the six songs here aren’t tight and melodic. But when opener “Leave Home” springs to life with grimy power chords and offbeat, offbeat rhythm, it’s refreshing and raw. And it’s so easy to get carried away by the soaring chorus that you might not notice the ambivalent vocal hook: “I might leave you home tonight.” Does Gordon mean this as a statement of confidence or indifference?
The next song, “Wait,” starts off as another sloppy rocker before settling into a mellow mid-tempo groove accented by chunky rhythm guitar riffs on the verses, and the chorus bouncing around like era REM” Document”.
Indeed, late ’80s college rock is a touchstone of “Everything’s Coming Up.” The slow-burning beat of “Lag” has a dirge-like elegance that resembles Bob Mould’s early solo work, and Ross Swinson’s lyrical guitar lines over the verses of “Sudden Doom” recall the blurry, liquid leads of Robert Smith on the Last Cure. scrapbooks.
Towards the end of “Everything’s Coming Up,” Barnwell stretches out a bit, exploring near-psychedelic guitar tones on the spacy “Soon,” and closing things out with the moody “Cave,” which runs on vintage-sounding synthesizers. . The mixture.
All the songs on the album are pleasant on the surface, but as the album progresses it becomes clear that Gordon’s lyrical tone isn’t as brilliant as the music. The smiley face sticker on the album cover looks ironic when he sings “I know I feel like breaking my teeth” on “Sudden Doom” or “You’re gonna give in before you do” on ” Cellar”.
His bittersweet vocals mask some of the anger, but the lyrics take dark turns on “Everything’s Coming Up.” Like the deliberately rougher edges of the music, it makes these songs feel a bit deeper.
The results are not perfect. But they’re good enough for rock ‘n’ roll.