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BARR

Prog Folk • Sweden


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Barr biography
BARR are a fresh face in the world of pastoral, mildly acid-influenced acoustic folk. Though largely unknown outside (and possibly even within) their native Sweden, the band has to their credit a self-produced EP, a 2008 full-length studio release, and individual resumes that include stints in TAKEN BY TREES and PADDLE & BALL, as well as touring credits with MONEYBROTHER. The band also supported indie folkster IRON & WINE on their 2008 Scandinavian tour.

The band consists of seven members, including a pair of string bassists and singer-songwriter team of Patrik Andersson and Hanna Fritzson, who combine to create ethereal and laconic melodies to accompany the band's acoustic soundscapes. A throwback band to a certain extent, BARR have been compared to seventies acts HERON, PENTANGLE and FAIRPORT CONVENTION, as well as more modern (but equally throwback) artists as ESPERS and NANOOK OF THE NORTH.

Well worth a listen, BARR represent yet another variation on modern and progressive acoustic folk and prove once again that the art of folksy and artistic self-expression is alive and well in the twenty-first century.

>>Bio from ClemofNazareth (aka Bob Moore)<<

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BARR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 6 ratings
Skogsbo is the Place
2008
3.67 | 3 ratings
Atlantic Ocean Blues
2012

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BARR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Skogsbo is the Place by BARR album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.02 | 6 ratings

BUY
Skogsbo is the Place
Barr Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars The first few minutes of Barr’s first full-length album comes off a bit like Gino Vanelli with a little Nicolette Larson harmonizing ala the Mamas & the Papas. It’s definitely a throwback album with an almost California soft rock sound. The septet from Sweden seems to be content to ease the listener into an almost hypnotic slow groove, with accents like slow falling snow in the form of a couple of lazy upright basses and the easy rhythm of undulating bongos and the stark sweet strands of harmonium and flowing flute. This is a winter album of the highest order, despite the opening track titled “Summerwind”.

The band features at least four vocalists, with English lyrics harmonized beautifully throughout in serene and unhurried pace. Despite the bucolic tones, the words tell of lost love and sometimes sad memories, as with the yearning “Words Would Do” that comes across like some sort of Spandau Ballet ballad. This and the opening “Summerwind” are the most conventional-sounding pop tunes on the album, with the band wandering off into pastoral Nordic-folk territory beginning with the acoustic-guitar focused “He ain't a Friend, he's a Brother” which is also accented with delicate glockenspiel chimes and the wispy crooning of guitarist Patrik Andersson. Things slow down even more on “Calling my Name” featuring flautist/pianist Hanna Fritzson’s sad and delicate vocals with male singers backing and more languid guitar.

The title track is also the shortest song on the album at less than three minutes, filled mostly with squeaking acoustic guitar picking and sad harmonium strands, with Andersson’s mild alto and Ms. Fritzson’s quiet chanting the only things keeping this from being a proper instrumental. An interlude piece really, separating the first half of the album from the just as mellow but slightly more adventurous final two tracks.

“Moonfall” begins as subdued as the rest of the album, but Andersson manages to pick up the tempo a bit from time to time as he reflects on the day fading in a setting sun across swaying treetops. This is a beautiful piece of music that seems made to be a backdrop to a long day culminating with quiet conversation with friends at an outdoor café over an apéritif and evening meal.

Barr shows their real potential for progressive folk arrangements most in the closing minutes with the almost post-rock and ranging ten-minute “Sister Lovers Alone”. The glockenspiel rings alongside energetic hand drums and an almost droning bevy of strings while Andersson and Fritzson combine for a duet of mellow acid folk chanting, while the rest of the band wanders alongside. The abrupt shift to synthesized bird songs and muddled spoken-word mumbling is a bit of a distraction several minutes in, but the band quickly recovers and shifts to a hippy-love ending of jangling guitar, flat strings and the rhythmic, four-part and somewhat nonsensical chant of “let’s try to be, and love on our own”. A great ending, especially for fans of late sixties flower-power smooth acid-folk.

Barr are a band with plenty of potential who will surely need to expand their sound and strive for more ambitious arrangements in future endeavors; but if they manage to do so and thrive, this will undoubtedly be revered by fans in future years as a solid and sentimental debut. A solid three star effort, and a very pleasant accompaniment to any lazy winter’s day.

peace

 Skogsbo is the Place by BARR album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.02 | 6 ratings

BUY
Skogsbo is the Place
Barr Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A fine debut album by Swedish act Barr, and Skogsbo sounds like an idyllic place indeed if that is the inspiration for the music on this production.

Highly melodic, slow to midpaced compositions is the name of the game on this one; where most melodies start out as slow, mellow and almost fragile sounding, gradually evolving towards harder and more aggressive soundscapes. Acoustic guitars are the main instruments, bass guitar will of course mostly be present too. Accordion and violin adds textures along with the vocals, either male, female or both in dual harmony layer.

The compositions have a tendency to become too repetitive though, and the songs as such may come across as somewhat to alike, but fans of folk music with some complexities to it - that doesn't mind their music placed in a more typical rock structure - should find this to be an interesting production.

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the artist addition.

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