BARB is a proper band! In a time where every rock star and their dog are joining forces – forming mildly celebrated, yet seemingly boring and predictable super-groups – comes the unique sound of BARB. With an Antipodeans darling line-up of Liam Finn, Lawrence Arabia, Connan Mockasin, Eliza-Jane and Seamus Ebbs, BARB aren’t just counting on their individual indie laurels to get noticed in this dog-eat-dog existence.
It was a mutual respect, awe and enjoyment of each other’s company that fuelled this project. With Liam Finn and live cohort Eliza-Jane’s constant touring (since the release of Finn’s solo debut I’ll Be Lightning and successive co-releaseChampagne in Seashells), Lawrence Arabia’s busy schedule after the critical success of Chant Darling (subsequently leading to NZ’s highest songwriting honour with the Silver Scroll Award), Connan Mockasin’s ever morphing musical exoskeleton – which, at last count had taken him back and forth from NZ to the UK 16 times in the last year alone, and resulted in the wondrous Please Turn Me Into The Snat – and the enigma that is Seamus Ebbs, BARB’s drummer who hadn’t been seen by anyone for 3 years, and was said to be living in a part of NZ considered by most to be mythical – it’s no wonder that wrangling these 5 intriguing individuals together was the trickiest part of making this record
Seeding the first thoughts of BARB while all living in London, it took 3 years of fantasising, cross-pollinating and some humorous e-mail chains before these 5 friends found themselves back in NZ at Roundhead Studios, on the grim slopes of Newton, Auckland. “It seemed only natural” muses Liam. “We have been involved in each others music for so long… getting up to play at each others shows… touring together when possible, we knew starting a band together would be fun… but we had no idea what it would sound like.”
BARB’s sound however, can only be described as ‘different’. Different from what the band expected, different from the crap you hear when you turn on the radio, different from the latest Danger Mouse production, probably different from what this bio will lead you to imagine. Lush reverbs lure you into an organic, yet sexy world, where you can’t tell if you’ve gone 40 years back in time, or 40 years into the future. Psychedelic songs about lesbian lovers, boat trips up the Nile, and even a 4 year old’s obsession with teen heart-throb Leonardo DiCaprio leave you imagining what BARB really got up to during those 4 weeks of writing and recording. When the 5 sing together it is glorious, and makes you feel like an excited child again, rollicking fun and mischief, with darker touches of the absurd and the sick, each element sounding as sincere as the other.
If the name BARB brings Pamela Anderson to mind – or possibly even the cruel design of a cat’s penis – you’re really in for a pleasant surprise. If BARB conjures up images of your auntie smoking a fag out on your Nana’s porch? Fantastic! They only hope they will find a way into your accepting heart and contribute something exciting and new to this already evocative word. BARB!
With all 5 members off again on their individual pursuits, one ponders how they can possibly nurture this ethereal musical baby, but the Universe works in wondrous ways, and like the making of this record, the life of BARB will be fated yet spontaneous. To be released in the U.S. on Yep Roc, don’t miss your chance to get involved and personal with this not so famous, dare we say SUPER-GROUP, called: BARB.
The alter ego of Lawrence Arabia or vice versa, Milne is known for his brutally honest lyrics which explore social commentary and poke fun at the idiocies of the human race. Charming melodies combined with simple but compelling arrangements are some of the reasons why this songwriter has turned heads throughout his home country of New Zealand, UK and the USA. Including winning the highly coveted annual Silver Scroll award in New Zealand and the inaugural Taite Prize, both songwriting awards for his recently released album Chant Darling, Lawrence Arabia creates some of the most special music to ring out from New Zealand in years gone by.
One of New Zealand’s most beloved young songwriters, Liam Finn has spent the last three years creating, releasing and touring his critically acclaimed debut album I’ll Be Lightning. After leaving the band Betchadupa he created in his early teens with high school friends, Finn embarked on a project he wanted to create by himself with a stronger emphasis on exploration into melody and song than he had ever explored before. Now having toured the world with the likes of Pearl Jam, Wilco, Crowded House as well as his own headline tours through Europe and USA, Finn is forging a name for himself as an artist with a huge musical future, and an album which is an absolutely essential debut to own.
Certainly no stranger to the world of music, EJ is the second eldest daughter of Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes. After having spent time touring in her dad’s backing band straight from high school and spending the last three years traipsing the globe with Liam Finn as his musical partner in crime, EJ every now and then takes time to stop and arm herself with an acoustic guitar and her beloved auto-harp. Her song writing was something always hugely important to her and she recorded and released a solo album There And Back in 2007. Evocative, subtle and profound, EJ’s beautiful voice and songwriting are the kind to resonate long after the first listen. She is currently in New York getting ready to release on her second record a collaboration with a fellow female Aussie folksinger they go by the name ‘Evil J & Saint Cecilia’.
Formerly bandleader of psychedelic 60’s rock trio Connan and the Mockasins, Connan has delved into a form of pop music engulfed in psychedelia which explores avenues of a brain and imagination that has created worlds and characters delightful and fantastical. His debut solo record Please Turn Me Into The Snat has recently been released in New Zealand to unanimous praise and shows a songwriter savant with musical and lyrical ideas to burn. Never a dull moment with Connan Mockasin his live show is also a special experience usually thrown together with whichever musical talents are in the same area code as Hosford at the time.
A former jazz student with a penchant for explosive soulful drumming and chewing peppercorns, Seamus Ebbs was a founding member of Connan And The Mockasins and spent time touring New Zealand, UK and Europe with the band before they disbanded. Known as one of the most versatile and interesting drummers in the country, Ebbs is an integral part of the sound of BARB with the bands emphasis on rhythmical variation and originality.
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