Monday, June 30, 2008

Barricades Rise - Blueprints EP

Hear The Track Here

Q: When is an EP not an EP? My answer is when it is more than 4 tracks and that shows perfectly how old and crusty I am. In this modern, new-fangled age EPs can be any size at all, but in the case of Nuneaton's own Barricades Rise, it numbers six. My last review this month also came as a request through my RebelRiffs blog and I've been living with it, after all six tracks take up some mighty ear room. Barricades Rise is a duo: Jonathan Coates and Michael McEntee, both supplying guitars and vocals and judging by their Myspace page, they are a live, gigging concern too albeit in the native Warwickshire and its surrounding counties. Sneer not, this is prime musical country; Coventry, Birmingham, Leicester all played important parts in musical history.

Hailing from Leicester myself, and having been heavily involved in the Coventry scene of a few years ago, I think I was expecting a particular sound but Walk The Earth - the first track - soon shot that assumption. Although it's a bit rough soundwise, Walk The Earth is a surprisingly mature production, something that is highlighted by certifiable Rock God vocals. This confidence and energy pretty much covers all of the tracks on offer, Smiles and Lies has some of the sound problems (vocals getting lost in the mix, kinda flat sounds) of the first track but again shows that songs are really what this duo are about. The Preacher is one of those tracks I wish I could see the lyrics, definitely one of the most dramatic tracks from the EP. Penelope puts a much more acoustic slant on what has come before and yet another track that stood out for this reviewer.

I was a bit surprised when I was finishing this review to find that the duo had recorded all of this on their own home studio, so now the roughness of some of the sounds comes clear. Nonetheless, the vocals ARE low on some tracks so nrrr. Paving Stones will certainly please those who like a more earthy, grungy sound and the thing rocks like nobodies business whereas Collapse reminded me strongly of the Who in their prime. All told, Barricades Rise deliver enough of an alternative kick to please most people, and the songs and performance help enormously. You can download Walk The Earth free here but you'll have to pay a bit of change for the rest. Is it worth it? Surprisingly enough yes, whatever little flaws it has - that's the beauty of home recording.

Refreshing take on Alternative. Highly Recommended for songs and vocals.

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