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Review: 'Anton Barbeau'
'Manbird'   

-  Label: 'Gare Du Nord/ Beehive Sound'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '18.9.20.'

Our Rating:
True Myspace Underground weird pop legend Anton Barbeau is back with his latest album and as his output is prodigious, he's now put out 30 something albums, this one is a double album. I am glad that back in those Myspace days Anton persuaded me to see him live a few times, although often for who he was playing on a bill with, including The Jazz Butcher at the 12 Bar Club, that was my first review of Anton's music. If you've never heard Anton live or even heard his records he's well worth discovering as a very inventive and restless weird musical force.

The album opens with the super catchy wonky pop of the album title track Manbird that's still stuck in my head from reviewing it as a single, once you've heard it two or three times it will be well stuck in your brain and you'll keep looking around for a Manbird, it's clever and infectious.
Across The Drama Pond is a reflective song about how Anton may have had an anger management issue or two in his new wave days, over a deceptively simple sounding tune that's layered with all sorts of effects, as he makes his escape from his hometown of Sacramento to Berlin London and beyond he drops airport codes in the lyrics almost like LHR or LAX are different drugs.

Memory Tone has a yearning tone to it's music and lyrical content as he tries to explain why he's singing a sentimental song over gently funky indie pop.

Fear Of Flying opens with an odd lyric about running through and airport with your funeral shoes on before the tale unfolds as to why he's scared of flying over acoustic folk oddness, this is a lot less dark than Trent Millers Fear Of Flyin'.

Savage Beak has a very early 70's acid fried feel to it as he tells us he is the Savage Beak as the odd 70's synth sounds come in to really make this peck at our ears.

Chicken is about a big bird flying but well as most chickens never get to fly that adds a layer of oddness that's added too by a very Crazy Horse style guitar or is it keyboards solo that sort of fits with an more electronic version of the Crazy Horse sound.

Featherweight is a hard-core punk frenzy of a song played at a heck of a pace with the lyrics spat out at us. He almost sings Do It more times than Henry Rollins does in the old Pink Fairies song of that name.

Beak slows things back down and has many repetitions of Beak Beak Beak Manbird Returns over slow deliberate and slightly fuzzy psychedelia.

Cowboy John Meets Greensleeves is a gently odd reworking of Greensleeves into a wrdfolk pastoral hymnal for Cowboy John that really needs to be heard to understand how weirdly wonderful it is.

Nest Of Feathers sounds like late 70's mid-western country pop being updated for the 2020's with some nice synth and spectral spacey sounds against the truly weird Hitchcockian lyrics about being covered in feathers.

Oh Dainty Beak sounds like a child's nursery rhyme song set to psyche jazz pop that has a forlorn feel to the vocals as the story unfolds of how they treat the one with the Dainty Beak until you start to take off Space Oddity style and show us what you can do when you really fly.

The first cd closes with And So Flies The Crow is a raven black tale of the Crow and what he sees the robin do, this is a cool odd bit of countrified indie pop and will have you singing along by the third listen.

The second cd opens with the dawn chorus of a new day on Coming Home possibly doing the walk of shame in a sparse new morning progressive blues mantra for the morning that takes an unexpected turn or two.

Don't Knock The Mockingbird is sweetly poppy song whose super intense chamber psychedelic weird backing takes this pop song off into a weird woodland folk world of it's own.

Flying On The Ground Is Alright is a flute folk rock chant along and a great answer to Neil Youngs Flying On The Ground Is Wrong, only this has a super cool weird as hell breakdown in the middle before it builds back up like they are trying to take off again.

My Other Life is like a gateway to a different dimension through sound and into the clouds they must go. Underneath the Mushroom Tree is a trippy tale of Corvid Jim the darkest crow about over a slow organ bed as the tale unfolds.

Auslanderbeak has the bird sounds chasing across the speakers almost like Albert Ayler playing the bagpipes and flying right over the Tiergarten.

Dreamscape 4 will allow you to enter a mellow chilled out rooms to wallow in the water-bed and have some dream therapy.
Even The Swans Are Dirty well was Jarboe ever clean? This is a heavy psyche funk pop tale of the dark streets and the things that happen there to make us feel well dirty.

Beak Part 2 goes space rock Spacemen 3 styled stripped back flight to the outer reaches of the Beak you know you need to get the Beak in your brain.

Birds Of North America has some very Ray Manzarek style keyboards that really are central to how wondrous a Psyche pop rock song it is never mind that acoustic guitar flourish that follows it.

Back To The Egg is a nice little tale of finding your way back home to the fold once more to realize how much you miss it and need to fly away again one day too.

Manbird (The Oxford Variation) is a multi-vocal dubbier version of the single and title song of the album that goes classical dub woozy pop of the highest order.

Space Force is perfect to soundtrack a sci-fi series of the same name, all about the joys of knowing they were going to live and die in space, for no good reason, I'm guessing it wasn't the actual title music for the Netflix series of the same name sadly, if only, then I'd want to watch the series.

And So Flies The Crow (Extension) is a minute and a half of hot dance floor samba reworking of the song instrumentally.

The album closes with Manbird (End Times Dub) the medieval folk funk dub ministering of the final flight of Manbird on this album.

Find out more https://antonbarbeau.bandcamp.com/album/manbird http://www.antonbarbeau.com/index_new.html https://www.facebook.com/antonbarbeau1967/
  author: simonovitch

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