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Released on October 22, 2016 via Offset Records/Dream Machine
I had the pleasure of seeing Barberos in The Buyer’s Club supporting Gnod earlier this year so, to finally have their album in my possession is fucking great.
If you’ve not heard them before, the opening track really is a great introduction to them. Barberos are purveyors of truly fucking crazy music. Some people might burden them with labels comparing them to jazz or avant-garde stuff or Beefheart or whatever, it’s not really any of that shit. There are elements of the band you could compare to other bands but, Barberos really are a unique entity in music. Their blend of intense, wild time signatures, comedic synchronicity and off-kilter musical progressions is charmingly idiosyncratic. Melodically, I’d say the album mainly conjures one image of a man running down an endless hallway adorned with kitchy paper being chased by a giant Wurlitzer with teeth. If you can’t imagine that, it’s almost like a retroactive soundtrack to that scene in The Big Lebowski where The Dude is being chased by the Nihilists with giant scissors.
‘The Ladius’ is a clear example of how incredible the band can be when they want to amaze you, even with the apathetic MIDI textures and almost miniature sounding dual drums that would usually remove a band from some people’s consideration; the band clearly showcase that every aspect of their game is spectacular transubstantiating minds into jelly in a 15 minute space-prog-pysche-jam that shatters math rock notions of jazz and the avant garde whilst blistering drums are thumped into the kit as though the drummers are trying to forge steel from their ramshackle kits.
Nihilism is probably something to consider when listening to the album; they don’t care for convention, they don’t seem to care about what most people, if anyone likes. They certainly aren’t having any less than a stellar time on stage, regardless of circumstance. Believe me, probably the best booking decision I’ve ever witnessed at a gig was the choice to have a band so chaotic yet, endearing and amusing before probably the most intense, visceral band in music today.
‘Hoyl’ is a good example of this bizarre wit radiating from the band; the opening vocals seem like the mouth of a stream of consciousness with strange, unsettling vocals and pads somehow through the band’s odd perspective becoming unsuspectingly dark and amusing at the same time. It’s almost as if Barberos are bored with today’s music and taking the piss out of every band engaging in futile efforts to be deep in a world where nothing matters, we all die and the only thing worth anything is entertainment whilst we’re stuck here on the ride. If they weren’t absolutely excellent, I wouldn’t imagine it so nihilistically, I’d probably put it down to something else but, the fact is that Barberos could play most (if not all) types of music and be vastly superior to most bands in that bracket.
The psychedelic element of Barberos is clearly an important facet of what they do; hints to various Rocket Recordings influences and ties are present within the tracks and I wouldn’t be surprised to one day hear that the balaclava clad badmen from Liverpool were in fact members of other bands on Rocket’s roster. ‘Obladen’ stands out as a particularly psyche-heavy jam with all instruments blaring together a cacophonous tower of lysergic babel; a whirlwind of screaming instruments and a cyclone of percussion. The tribal carnage of the track fits in with the ritualistic heritage of the genre it takes influence from but, even in this niche-pleasing stop-over in fairly classifiable psychedelia; what is still evident is that Barberos understand what they’re doing and how to do it well; they just to eschew the approach of others and do something completely fucking unique instead.
Wild eyed cackling madness, dancing drums, entropy, chaos, choreography, entertainment and above all reckless abandon. Barberos are a band that don’t care what you think and that makes them cool, right kids? Not caring?