What could you be without? Me? Definitely not albums like this!
Barrow are a 4 piece from Greensboro, North Carolina and play music of the post rock, emo and screamo variety, so it would be easy to compare them to Envy right? Yes (and I believe I just did), comparisons to Envy are no bad thing, at all. Barrow manage to sound similar and yet do something different, there’s more clean vocals and the heavy parts aren’t quite as heavy, they still hit hard in the right places though and they certainly pack a punch.
I’m going to call this progressive screamo (progmo? I hate myself!). Anyway, let’s not get bogged down in this genre business, it’s annoying and petty. Barrow are just good, enjoyable and have created a really very good and listenable record in “Being Without”, and that’s what it’s all about.
The vocals, clean in places, are mostly screeched out, at times in an almost call and response manner, which adds to the urgency and emotion in the more intense moments of the record. On “The Undertow” and “An Absent Crown, My Diadem” there is a lot of the clean vocal style, it works well, changes the pace and it’s nice to hear a little bit of variation, this obviously soon changes back to the ferocious “RAAAARRS” that I’m more accustomed with.
“An Absent Crown, My Diadem” is the longest track on the album, at just under 9 minutes, and is certainly a highlight, it has everything you could possibly want, quiet/reflective passages, vicious/angry passages and some tremendous vocal variation.
It all comes to a close with “Ashen, Pallid”, sounding much like the rest of the album, a sprawling emotional landscape, that drags you in and keeps you hooked for the next tempo change, which obviously comes sooner rather than later, a vicious rough sounding crescendo that builds and builds eventually ending rather suddenly, an excellent way to end this journey.
This feels like an expansive record and yet is only 41 minutes long, a testament to what Barrow do, creating songs with atmosphere and passion. A quick glance on their bandcamp and you will find this, “Don’t care about gettin’ rich, don’t care about stayin’ poor. Playing music that we feel. Best friends.” Pretty much sums them up.
Overall this is a very enjoyable listen, something different from the screamo mould, and it stands out, takes you on a journey, a journey that if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have again and again and again.
The record is currently available direct from the band on 12”, it comes in 2 colurways, marbled charcoal grey (250) and marbled light grey (250) and looks absolutely stunning (believe me!) Follow the links to purchase.
PS: Come over to the UK soon guys?