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sunnuntai 29. marraskuuta 2020

Anton Barbeau - Manbird

 Gare du Nord Records (BH007)

Manbird is an amazing, massive new double CD by one of my favourite psychedelic indie rock/pop artists Anton Barbeau. As I've stated before, I've been a fan of Anton's since The Kind Of Missouri album released on Woronzow Records in 2002. I have missed a couple of releases since then but Anton seems to been remained active and productive all these years. He's originally from the States but has been living in Berlin for some years now with some occasional trips to the U.K. as well.

Manbird released in September is a 25-track "ambitious concept album about leaving the nest, traveling the world and finding home." So that's where the title comes from, if you were wondering... Personally, I love Anton's lyrics as well as his music since there is alsways a certain amount of humour in there even when he's talking about some serious issues. I think the stories here are rather autobiographic and the booklet includes lots of photos of Anton from and early age onwards.

Anyway, lets focus on the music now. As always, Anton knows how to build a catchy, melodic and clever pop song and we've got plenty of those here starting from the title track that starts the journey. The album was produced by Anton with some help from his friends and sounds excellent. There are lots of little mixing tricks to make the songs sound more interesting. There are also little bit more electronic elements on some songs like "Across the Drama Pond", some folky vibes and even one fast punk rock song "Featherweight". The instrumentation is varied as well as the moods and vibes. There are some beautiful acoustic ballads and more experimental pieces but most of it is still pretty easy to digest and listener friendly, even with all the clever little hooks and weird stuff in the middle. Many songs are pretty short, between one and three minutes in length, and even the longest one, the final, trippy piece "Space Force" is just over five minutes. It's just impossible for me to name any favourites from these 25 little nuggets since they all have a charm of their own. As often is the case, I'm probably most drawn to the most psychedelic moments, though (like "Underneath the Mushroom Tree" and "Auslanderbeak"). Living in Berlin must have taken its toll since there is even some krautrock influences on "Beak" and "Beak Part 2". Great! You can also tell that Anton has listened to The Beatles a lot and also some Bowie. He has a very unique, distinctive singing voice that I also really enjoy. All in all, I got to say that Manbird is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining albums I have heard this year. It's been a crappy year in general but at least there is stll some interesting music being produced and released to keep our spirits high!


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