Barrys Attic - Voices All Clear Now

Owain Paciuszko 28/07/2009

Rating: 2/5

If I believed the press notes then Midlands four-piece Barry's Attic should probably be one of my favourite bands of all time, allegedly combining Blur, The Cure, Pavement and Sonic Youth into the mix; however there's a distinct difference between citing a band and channeling a band through your music. I mean, for all I know James Blunt could listen to nothing but Ray Davies and Neil Young, doesn't make him any more than a turd that won't flush. Now, Barry's Attic aren't as awful as Norfolk's dullest, but they do suffer from a syndrome that consistently besets reviewers and that's Hyperbolic Press-note Syndrome. With most CDs I receive I make sure that I listen to the recording without looking at the notes until afterwards, and such was the case with Barry's Attic, but, as is also usually the case, curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what they had to say for themselves.

Ultimately Barry's Attic sound like 80's indie-disco with a little bit of Menswear as garnish, there's an artifice and impenetrable sheen to their music that keeps the listener at a distance. Synergy inparticular is a very plastic track, with Pet Shop Boys-esque vocals and a lack of emotion in the performance that might please those fonds of standing moodily by the blue neon lit by doing dance moves from the video of Vogue. However, as part of the current 80's revival these songs are footnotes.

The Past is Just That has a whisper of that advertised The Cure influence in it, but it's as a twee version thereof with a guitar riff seemingly lifted from Los Campesinos!. It's the best track on the record, and manages in its closing moments to claw together energy and enthusiasm, but it's not enough to dispell the memory of the blander earlier tracks and that tracks beige beginnings.