Last week it was Halifax's Dog Day, this week it's a journey to the center of the earth and out the other side to New Zealand, where Kiwi pop supergroup BARB has emerged with the results of a month-long studio party. The five fertile imaginations include the one-man looping pedal maelstrom Liam Finn (heir to the melodic richness of Split Enz/Crowded House co-founder Neil Finn) and his regular accomplice Eliza-Jane Barnes (also the daughter of Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes), Connan Mockasin and his drummer Seamus Ebbs, and the redoubtably named Lawrence Arabia (a.k.a. James Milne of the Reduction Agents, the Brunettes, and occasionally Okkervil River).
The results could have been a mishmash, but the record has a hearty spirit of adventure about it, apparently fortified by several litres of Down Under plonk, and these five muscatel musketeers plunder their collective love of rock, pop and soul with an almost tribal zeal. The feeling is evident on this song, "Not a Bird," where lyrics are chanted as much as they are sung, and the intertwining harmonies sticking to the brain just as the group's name suggests. You can imagine BARB singing this while dancing around a giant bonfire as the percussion overwhelms the other instruments, but there's just enough bass, guitar and atmospheric fuzz to keep things from going completely Lord of the Flies.
On iTunes: BARB / "Not a Bird"