Being born and raised in New York City I often overlook the powerful draw the NYC has on people. From tourists wanting to see tall buildings, to pretty girls thinking they can become models, to musicians yearning to become part of a real scene, I never really got it until I spent some time in the US Army in North Carolina. Being a musician, I now truly see how much easier it is to introduce your craft to the masses in a city known for its musical past. Many bands force themselves to move here and quickly fade out in the crowd of great bands. I do NOT think this will be the case with former upstate New Yorkers The Barrens after their required relocation to the city that never sleeps.
The hard to pinpoint into any genre psychedelic rock band uses all parts of rock music’s past to create a sound that is all their own. Cliché, I know but actually true in this case. They even try to describe themselves as a phased out, grungey, glittery, jangley, punky, and loungey act. Honestly, I do think they hit on each one of those adjectives on their recently released, self-titled album The Barrens, an 11 song mish mash of addictive melodies and compelling sounds that demand your attention. ‘Felt’ is a classic rock powerhouse right out of Led Zeppelin or Cream’s catalog, with a rhythm section that makes you feel like you were just dragged through the mud and you came up smiling. They touch on all of their genres on ‘Out Of The Rain’. Grunge guitars, soaring keyboards, repetitive trance educing vocals. After almost 6 minutes, you think you just listened to 5 different songs. ‘Better’ starts as a sweet song with Debbie Chou’s melodic vocals but she breaks out her Debbie Harry punk vocals to grab the listener by the throat before laying him down gently on the floor.
The rumors are that The Barrens put on a wild live show as well. I prepare on finding out when they hit Bowery Electric in Manhattan on July 27th. After listening to the full album I am prepared to have my mind officially blown. Get there and say hi before the show if you can, because afterwards I may be speechless.
Go listen to the new album yourself at: