The name Little Barrie brings to my mind a picture of Johnny Depp as Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland. In other words, innocent, wistful, and impossibly white. It’s not a good mental picture to have when listening to a British band trying to dig up the depths of 60s and 70s funk-rock.
Perusal of Little Barrie’s web photo gallery proves that indeed they are impossibly white–not that it was a tough guess, since singer Barrie Cadogan has played lead guitar for Morrissey. And they are from London, where, as a BUST magazine reviewer commented, white people were invented.
Like so many bands these days, Little Barrie sound like they’ve skipped over the oh-so-five-minutes-ago 80s (shhh–don’t tell Bloc Party) and landed right in the end of the 60s or beginning of the 70s. Instead of the blues-inflected raveups of bands like The Blue Van or the Sights, Barrie and co. opted for slower, groovier songs that would be sexy makeout soundtracks if not for Barrie’s squeaky-clean singing, which reminds me of nothing so much as previously reviewed (and panned) band Turin Brakes. The background vocals sound more like Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes, and at times the whole package recalls Lenny Kravitz with a bit less hip-swiveling, sneering sex appeal.
Is it bad when the best adjective I can use to describe a band is white, despite their best efforts to the contrary? If I could tune out the vocals for a bit, I’d find myself shaking my ass to their bump and grind, but I’ve never been good at ignoring the singer.