| Artist: The Barbarellatones|
CD Title: Coldsore
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Largely dropping the gothabilly glam and surf rock of their previous outing and concentrating more on its melodic strengths, The Barbarellatones' latest, Coldsore, shines with lovely pop sensibilities and retro rock production. Significant shades of the 60s and 70s blend with elements recalling more modern psychedelic pop bands like The Flaming Lips for a musical formula that works well. The album's lyrical content certainly doesn't match the quality of its music, blending horror references and odd tales in a way that rarely reaches the material's quirky potential and works best at its most literal and heartfelt. However, the package, as a whole, is quite noteworthy.
The disc's title track is a retro pop tune, accented by new wave synths and complete with handclaps, that draws comparisons to The Cars. The darker, sitar-infused "Chocky" recalls Seventeen Seconds-era Cure, albeit with unfortunate lyrics that pass tongue-in-cheek and head straight for lowbrow ("the first time I met him, he had poo poo in his fur"). The mellow, semi-Bowie-esque, touching guitar ballad "Junkie Girlfriend", the moody retro psychedelia of "Acid Test", the lyrically quirky but musically spectacular "Chinese Food", featuring the album's best guitar solo, and the nice retro guitar pop of "Medicine Woman" are the disc's highlights. The trippy, fetching "Medicine Wheel" and lovely "The Sunset Club" are also particularly strong, while the surf rock delivery of "Jaws!" and "Orange County" works well. "Tranni Trogolodite" and "I Had Sex with a C.H.U.D.", the two songs closest to the band's previous material complete with silly horror motifs that could have been fun if delivered in a more clever way, suffer lyrically and prove the album's low point.
Full of beautifully crafted 2-to-4-minute pop/rock songs with memorable hooks and strong performances, The Barbarellatones' Coldsore is an impressive musical outing that only really falters in its sometimes depthless, lowbrow lyrics. Despite the album's frequent lack of lyrical substance, fans of retro guitar pop psychedelia and glam will revel in the album's excellent production and layering and noteworthy instrumental work, making Coldsore, despite its shortcomings, an album that's certainly worth a listen.
The Barbarellatones website: www.barbarellatones.com