Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Album Review: "Brace The Wave" by Lou Barlow

Brace The Wave
Is this a for real Barlow knife?!

I can't get that line out from Huck Finn out of my head when I think of this man's name.

I mean, I'm sure that Barlow is a perfectly normal family name and can be traced back generations all the way to Europe, but to me, I'm just reminded of that vagrant hero, written by Mark Twain.

Missouri's own by the way....

As I can't even think of this man as whom he is when I hear his name, it's most likely quite clear that I'm not familiar with his body of work, but if I'm honest, the cover did intrigue me a bit. Ah...he's from Dinosaur Jr.

The press release didn't mention any of that....

Lou Barlow
I do not personally enjoy Dinosaur Jr, but heard them quite a bit in my youth as my best friend loved them and this is about as far away from that as you can get.

As Barlow is about ten years older than I am, he grew up with "the good old days" being the folk movement instead of the good ol'days being Led Zeppelin.

Growing up with folk music in the rear view mirror instead of the history books must have left a mark. This album, though I'm sure some will call it a pop record, to me is straight up folk music, not even folk rock.

This album is very, very sparsely instrumented. 75% of the music is the acoustic guitar and his vocals. There are little bits of percussion, swaths of synth, backing vocals, and the like, but this is an album featuring a man and his guitar.

It seems to me that this is what Dylan must sound like to the people who love his singing. It's clear. It's robust. It's emotive.

It's also always in key and on time which is why I'm going to start thinking of Barlow as the romanticized Dylan.

Release: 9/4/15
Genre: Folk
Label: Joyful Noise Recordings
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