Barbarella – Neon City EP …   3 comments

A friend of mine once said that I’d end up listening to hard rock in the end, a genre I had shown particular distaste towards; Well, stoner rock taking its stylistic cues mainly from that specific genre left me in an interesting position, and more and more I find the general tenets of hard rock appealing.  And I’m all for genre-bending and image-shifting, the unique, consistent and self-sustaining.  Why am I giving you a lesson on my life? Simple: Barbarella is a perfect example of all of this.

      Barbarella is a stoner hard rock band from the Netherlands, who put out this six-track EP on 2008.  Which is odd, because few of us seemed to have noticed – and that does this band, and this EP great disservice because we have a gem in our hands.  Let me explain: it has the warm, fuzzy riffs and lumbering bass of stoner rock.  These are performed as close to hard rock as possible, with classic drumming, vocals and lyrics that wouldn’t be out-of-place on a Kiss record.  All this is coupled with a general space-y feel, the kind of space you’d see on a raygun gothic novel or a Planet Hollywood-esque, American diner-style space opera.  This is usually established with small, short intro passages, the song names and the spacey feel of the music itself.  A few things are certain: Barbarella has inexhaustible energy, incredible drive and fat, infectious melodies and grooves to polish off the already immersive music they make.  Oh, and the vocals are the perfect balance between the rock-rebel/everyman to the sleazy bar-dweller you see on the stage.  Just to warn you, they’re very, very distinctive (a welcome break from the regularly apathetic vocals of stoner rock.)

      So the EP kicks off with stomper “Monobeep”, a testament to the band’s inexhaustible and contagious energy.  It’s a short track, granted, but it showcases the strong points of Barbarella: infectious melody, cool, harder-than-hard rock riffing, cool vocals and nice passages.  It’s immediately followed up with “Had Enough”, a sleazy piece that rocks just as hard as the first track.  Further, it’s fast-paced main riffs and the slower, groovier chorus are incredible.  Then comes “Neon City”, an incredible, soaring, masterpiece of a hard rock love song (“I’m gonna love you till the sun goes down” is the first line of the chorus) and while this review may read like we’re entering the repetition zone (more on that below), we’re actually far from it.  Barbarella slows it down a notch with “Sonic Nomad”, which is more focused on groovin’ it than rocking out, and the guitar work puts the spacey feel to work in this one.  The chorus is incredible, too.  Then, the pace goes back up with “Humble Stooge Hurricane”, which, despite its name, is like a summary of what Barbarella is all about, and stands on its own, yet very similar to, the others.  It’s also got this killer atmospheric passage near the end where spacey keyboards and cheesy 60’s sci-fi effects are overlaid with the music along with sound clips from movies (before picking it right up and boosting it.)

      Now, as if the band saved the best for last, out comes the final song, “Take Me to Your Leader”, which is, hands-down, the top point of the EP, which leaves you wanting for more.  Everything, from the chiptune-ish, space rock feel of the song to that incredible, catchy-as-hell chorus.  Its transcendent, in that, it earned the honor of being my introduction song – I put the headphones to someone’s ear and play this song to introduce them to Barbarella.

      Despite all that, the EP has a minor flaw.  It’s that “Neon City” is one of those albums where some songs (“Sonic Nomad” and “Take Me To Your Leader” in this case) immediately stand out, and the others can be a bit of a muddled “wait, didn’t I already listen to this song?” However, the music is infectious and addictive enough that it keeps you coming back and can withstand multiple top-to-bottom playing, and the more you listen to it, the more details come out.  So it requires a bit of patience from the listener, but if you’re used to hard rock variants, you’ll feel right at home.

      Just listen to it.  It’s one of those perfect albums that are hard to find faults with.  I know I’ll catch some flak sometime due to these marks, but, hey, whatever – I’ll give it 10/10 (a well-earned mark.)
Review Written By Sarp Esin
Barberella @ Myspace
Official Website

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Posted May 10, 2011 by doommantia in Barbarella

3 responses to “Barbarella – Neon City EP …

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  1. This is a LOT like The Atomic Bitchwax. So if you like this check them out. I personally agree with the review. This ROCKS!

  2. The Atomic Bitchwax just puts me off with their name (not that “Barbarella” is a much more epic choice, mind) and the fact that they're a deep, deep sea with all them albums and EP's:) But, I'm not one to reject advice, so, I'll take that under advisement:) (read: “get to it once I go through the stuff I have to go through”:))

    Thank you for the comment, in all cases:)

  3. The Atomic Bitchwax is one of the best stoner-metal bands around in my opinion. The latest album is one 42 minute instrumental that is one killer riff after another. Personally I rate them in the top 3 bands in the world for pure riff-rock.

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