Album Reviews

Little Barrie – Stand Your Ground

(Genuine) UK release date: 29 January 2007

This Nottinghamshire trio’s 2005 debut album, We Are Little Barrie, was apparently recorded in Edwyn Collins‘ studio over half a year on Wednesdays only.

A quirky anecdote for a successful album maybe, but one made necessary by Collins’ commitment elsewhere. It’s that sort of approach, however, that shapes the band’s sound nicely – polished for sure, but with a keen sense of spontaneity that comes from not dwelling on their musical statements too long, helping their open air, bluesy pop music to blossom and leaving some welcome untempered edges.

Stand Your Ground finds founder members, vocalist Barrie Cadogan and bassist Lewis Wharton, joined by new drummer Billy Skinner. Three backroom names are well worth mentioning – producers Dan The Automator and Mike ‘Prince Fatty’ Pelanconi and Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simins, with whom the album was recorded.

A promising CV then, and one that seems to have helped Little Barrie push forward with their endearing tunes and keen if understated vocals. An indication of the band’s melodic prowess can be found in the fact that four singles have already been drawn from the album in Japan.

Love You gets the toes tapping and the hands clapping from the off, sparky garage music with a twang. Pin That Badge takes a gravelly vocal and heavier drum, sparse production but the verses book ended by earthy guitar solos from Cadogan. Pretty Pictures slides the guitars around nicely, and goes off at a tangent with a bizarre waltz beat used for its middle section, with Cadogan’s often feminine vocal temporarily lost in the mix. Pay To Join, meanwhile, is more reserved, Wharton’s bass holding steady.

As you’d expect, the album gets its job done quickly. Just Wanna Play is an endearing song, introduced by a perky guitar riff that leads to Barrie’s persuasive vocal. Then the stop-start Why Don’t You Do It plays Cadogan’s vocal off against his own guitar refrains, temporarily making him a one man band.

Little Barrie’s appeal, then, lies in the directness of their music, the unfussy delivery and the economical way their lead man delivers his guitar contributions. These all make for a brightly uplifting record.

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Little Barrie – Stand Your Ground