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Baron - Columns CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.89 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Post-Punk strikes again!

Swooping out the ribcage of modern psych proggers Diagonal, British Baron sound like they've taken it upon themselves to resurrect the glory days of the post-punk scene. With Alex Crispin and Luke Foster tuning in from the aforementioned band, one could very easily be lead into thinking that Baron's work resides somewhere between the sounds of 1970 and the sprouting neo-psychedelia scene of today, yet what you find instead is, indeed, something akin to the dark and, at times, gothic ambiances of the 80s, with acts such as Japan, Swans, Killing Joke and Echo and the Bunnymen firmly held in check.

What on earth is this band doing on here then? - you might be asking yourself by now. Well, it's not all that clear cut when you get down to the heart of it. Seeping over from Diagonal are some murky, treacherous and swirling keyboards, that all through this album bob and writhe in whatever tasty dressing the track is in need of. Often these sections are mixed up with some twitchy rhythmic turnovers, a touch of ambient synths as well as something that on occasion sounds remotely close to that of prog rock........but it's not - not entirely that is.

With a deep booming voice, Alex feels like he has finally found his place musically. While one could hear traces of this characteristic boom in a tune like the ending Pact off the Diagonal debut, it is more upfront and secure of itself on Columns. What it mostly sounds like is David Sylvian on a particularly inspired day, albeit with a connotation of it's own - something warm and, at the same time, ethereal latched onto it. Personally, I'm just a sucker for the 80s crooners. Folks like Sylvian and Brendan Perry who brought Frank Sinatra and Jim Morrison up to date, are, and have always been, faves of mine. It's the boom I guess...

Add to the sombre atmospheres of 1984, or something to that effect, we get served with snippets of horn and clarinet from a guy called Nick Whittaker. Together with Ross Hossack on synth these two guesting musicians fill up the remaining room with everything from icy sound sculptures to earthy and rather angular riffs. The latter part mostly due to the wind instruments and the tricky character they assume from time to time.

From vocals that linger in your skull like dark and beautiful man echoes to soaring synth and keyboards bubbling up through the airwaves, this album is anything but an old recipe done anew. No, what it feels like and sounds like is unfinished business. Music that was supposed to have bridged the experimental and earthy bits of the 70s with the serene and dark cold of the following decade. You'd be hard pressed to find such a thing in the 80s - at least done like this with such warmth and vitality to the recording. Columns fuses the two, and not only through a series of wonderfully crafted melodies, but also in the poignantly sharp lyrics that fly out of your speakers like darts with a purpose.

Recommended to all you people who look down your noses at music with but a mere hint of the 80s. Listen to this little gem and eat your words, thoughts and preconceived ideas about music you probably know next to nothing about.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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