Charlie Barnes – More Stately Mansions (2015)

Artist: Charlie Barnes
Title Of Album: More Stately Mansions
Year Of Release: 2015
Label: Superball Music
Genre: Progressive Rock
Quality: mp3 320 kbps
Total Time: 47:31 min
Total Size: 108 MB

01. More Stately Mansions (3:33)
02. Sing To God (3:56)
03. Easy, Kid (5:09)
04. Balloons (4:41)
05. Ghosts (5:29)
06. MacbethMacbethMacbeth (3:51)
07. House (6:19)
08. Dresden (4:51)
09. Hammers (5:01)
10. Film (4:40)

If you believe that certain things are simply ‘meant to be’, then the coming together of Superball Music and singer/multi-instrumentalist Charlie Barnes must’ve been concocted in the cosmos ages ago. For both parties, Mancunian progressive rock heavyweights Oceansize and Amplifier have been hugely influential to their chosen paths, and where Superball ultimately signed both groups, so Barnes has gone onto work with the latter as a live and occasional studio collaborator, before hiring Steve Durose – a man famed for his work with both bands – to produce his debut LP, More Stately Mansions. Mostly recorded at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, with vocals put down in an isolated cottage in the middle of Wales, More Stately Mansions deals with unashamedly bold brush strokes. Songs like ‘Sing To God’s’ gossamer strings strike delicately amidst rumbling percussion and several moments of histrionic guitar malevolence that recall those aforementioned teenage influences; the title track’s layered vocals hark back to Queen in their mid-70’s pomp, while ‘Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth’ rises and falls on a series of scything post-hardcore riff acrobatics. «I’ve never really been interested in stuff that just stays on a level and sits in the background,» Barnes admits. «I like music that really commands your attention and listening, and for me that’s very rarely music that doesn’t have a sense of width to it. I’m never happy with the idea of just doing the verse part again and then the chorus part again and cracking on with the next song. I always want to explore the ways in which things can continually build and then be knocked down.» All of this is cut through with a climactic vocal that bores out vestiges of Jeff Buckley, or even Freddie Mercury, delivered with an overwhelming sincerity that goads its audience out of apathy and into a reaction, an expressive way of performing that Barnes has embraced since childhood. «I remember being seven years old and hearing the first few bars of ‘It’s a Hard Life’ by Queen and being completely blown away by how Freddie Mercury’s voice holding those huge, intense notes made me feel. I’ve certainly had an aversion to the trend of singers who would heavily manner their voice to sound unique or idiosyncratic too; I’ve always found it incredibly powerful when a human voice is creating the emotional drive in a piece of music.»

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