Allan Barron is an artist who is based in a small seaside town called Whitley Bay in the UK. He is a songwriter that wears his influences from the 60’s and 70’s. Growing up on a diet of bands such as The Beatles, Steely Dan, The Kinks, Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel, his last album entitled The Wrong Hat sounds like a mishmash of Steely Dan And The Steve Miller Band more than anything. The album is comprised of 10 well-crafted songs that have a healthy dose of electric guitars, piano, bass and drums. Barron has a good voice that fits the style of the songs well. One thing I noticed is that some of the songs feel as if they were a bit off, as if the timing was 1/4 beat behind at points. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not but it sounded a bit sloppy. He recorded this album himself and at certain points you can tell. Certain elements like the kick drum lacked some of the essential low frequencies needed for a professional sounding recording and occasionally the guitar sounded too loud (rather minor thing but still noticeable).
The album starts out with the rev of engines before you hear a couple of guitars strumming just waiting to be let loose. Eventually it gives way and drums and bass are introduced to the mix, After listening to the song it is obvious that Barron’s best attribute is his ability to write a song that is carefree like you just got watching the movie Easy Rider and you are pretending to be Peter Fonda. However the song overstays its welcome by a few minutes. It could have been wrapped up in under five minutes and would have been just as impactful. ”The Wrong Hat” was an anthemic good ole time that just begged the listener to light up a doobie and smoke that thing like it was 1972. “Look at Me” was a bit of a wacky one. The song started off with wobbly bass synths and a drunken off beat dance beat that sounded like it was made in the early 80’s. Nonetheless this didn't last long because as soon as the verse hit it immediately sounded like a 1970’s Steely Dan song again. Perhaps the best song is the most heartfelt “Your Disguise.” It is a bit slower than some of the other songs but sounded more in sync.
So this album is hit or miss. There are some good songs but they are often plagued by timing issues as well as lo-fi recording that are not pleasant with the style of music. That being said if you are a fan of some of the dinosaur bands of the 70’s I would check this out.
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