Our Daily Bread 511: Anton Barbeau ‘Power Pop’

April 18, 2022

ALBUM REVIEW/Graham Domain

Anton Barbeau ‘Power Pop’
(Big Stir Records)

The new album by, Sacramento native, Anton Barbeau is called Power Pop. The irony is that it is not power pop! It is however Pop! More accurately, it is Pop with the sound of the early 1980’s, when bands like Vince Clarkes’ Depeche Mode and Howard Jones troubled the charts!

The new single ‘Rain, Rain’ is a case in point and comes across like the Eurythmics with male vocals! Complete with thunderstorm sound effects, the lyrics are standard Pop fare “rain on me, wash away my tears, set me free!”

Similarly, ‘The Never Crying Wolf Boy’ sounds like a cross between Yazoo and the Human League with its pulsing bass synth and daft lyrics… “The sound of silver tambourines spells out my name at Halloween.”

The short instrumental pieces between songs, such as ‘Slash Zed Zip’ and ‘Pompadour Toupee’ sound like off cuttings from The Art of Noise but don’t really add anything to the album!

The song ‘Power Pop’ meanwhile, begins like an alternative dance record before morphing into acoustic rock dourness, but still manages to have throwaway pop lyrics like “if this is war I’ve had enough, my mouth is full of power pop!” Sometimes, the songs stray into pure pastiche of the comedic type (like Neil Innes or The Rutles), for example, ‘The Drugs’. Elsewhere, the guitar pop of ‘Julian Cope’ reveals some terrible rhymes such as “Julian Cope, how do you cope?” and “I saw you Vibing, we beamed up Croyden Style-y, next thing it’s Bracknell and we’re backstage getting smiley!”

Overall it’s a fine pop album even if it’s a bit Retro in its sound and vision.

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