Sometimes I get requests for coverage from artists I really dig but because of one thing or another, it gets put on the backburner. That’s not to say I forgot about it because I remember EVERYTHING but more that it goes to some dark corner of my head mush waiting for an ideal time to work it’s way back into the casual conversation that is our pseudo-regular posting schedule.
Which brings us to Patrick Barry or, as readers here might know him, the artist known as smell. We reviewed the smell record forever and ever ago (Read our review of 2019’s Viva Lasagna here) and recently Barry decided to shed the smell moniker for the release of ’20 which we thinks makes perfect sense because what’s contained within is something so different and so far from previous outing that it deserves its’ own brand.
The first thing we picked up on when listening to ’20 is that it sounds like the soundtrack for the greatest Cameron Crowe movie yet to be made. It’s Vanilla Sky meets Almost Famous meets the outliers of the Singles soundtrack (The Lovemongers, Paul Westerberg, and Chris Cornell tracks in particular). From the minute “Illusion Of Choice” starts it all off, listeners will be transported to the opening scene from some ’80’s movie taking place in some big city with the hustle and bustle happening all around until we center on our main character arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed but overwhelmed by it all set to this track that’s kinda jazzy, kinda Pop, and all around fabulous.
“My Glass Saxophone” is like whacked out The Wiggles while “Song for Henryk” goes for the Genesis vibes and that sweet spot where they were still kinda Prog after Peter Gabriel had left, bangers like “Domino” were still the lay of the land with Phil Collins, and “I Can’t Dance” was not yet a part of the darkest timeline. “Harlequinade” is a piano-driven ditty backed by ye olde samba-organ preset that’s hella sweet with Barry’s crooning bringing it all together and then “Song In C (Sweet Validation)” is another tender piano trope and another that could easily be heard playing in the background up on the silver screen with this one in particular giving us some Ben Folds feels as a glorious trumpet from Bryan Murphy offers some finishing flourishes.
“Monkey’s Organ Grinder” is just giddy, steadily moving and propelled along by a bouncy bass like one of the greatest Rawk jams of the ’70’s with “Crackers & Coffee” sounding like The Muppets meets Fleetwood Mac with this psychedelic Americana mixture. Going with the movie music tone, “10 & 2” is just about as perfect an ending as you could get with Barry’s vocal bravado leading listeners along as the credits roll on and our hero walks away from the camera, having experienced some profound moment that will forever alter their lives.