Barcelona, simon BASIC (March)
As soon as the vintage casio starts in the first track, you’re hooked. The voices are laid back and smooth like a number of teen beat bands, which is maybe no surprise since barcelona hail from d.c.
The sweetness of the voices may get a little hard to take for some people, but the voices never get sappy. Barcelona sings about staying up all night in internet chat rooms and not wanting to go outside. Particularly nice is the song ‘c64,’ an ode to the classic Commodore computer. The song details a hacker’s exploits. Nothing too deep or dark, just about making long distance phone calls illegally. Barcelona do not aspire to the ‘futuristic’ vibe of Gary Numan. They’re content being pop musicians in the 90’s who sing about the times they live in. There are no replicants or telekons in their world, just cheap computers and 1200 baud modems…
Barcelona’s understated melodies and simple, well-accessorized music make every song catchy, almost as an afterthought. Their pop sensibility is never in question and, perhaps because of that, they never feel the need to bludgeon you over the head with the sort of ‘here comes the chorus’ dynamics of a lot of indie groups.
The interplay between the guy-girl vocals is never forced and in ‘1/2’ reaches (quite tastefully) into Belle and Sebastian territory.
With eleven tracks lasting only 35 minutes, you can leave the record in for a couple of spins. It’s brilliant. I wish all indie music were so charming.