Fireworks

The Barnum Meserve - 'The Barnum Meserve' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/39/44/52/The-Barnum-Meserve-The-Barnum-Meserve-75-1443470436.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 28, 2015    
 
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There's evidence of some original writing in quirky drum beats, great harmonies from the backing vocals and some musical sparks in general.

The Barnum Meserve are a three-piece Pop Rock band from Nottingham with this, their debut self-titled album. It's been two years in the making, following the release of 2 EPs in 2011 and 2012. I want to say that the band have had almost too much time to work on this album. It's almost as if it's been repeatedly tweaked and touched-up and ultimately removed any guts and soul it might have had.

'War Games' builds slowly, like a tide but it never reaches a high-point yet seems too long to act as an introduction to the album. 'Open Up Your Eyes' demonstrates the sparse texture the band use throughout the album; they make good use of this, managing to fill out the whole sound and reaching good climatic effect in choruses. However, from 'Colours' you genuinely feel like you're stuck in a loop of one long song. The tracks are all very similar in tone and key. The band builds toward big climaxes in the songs (think Hozier or Nine Inch Nails but without the catchiness and rhythm) but they lose their effect when they all sound the same. Similarly, the soaring, uplifting sounds – especially in the backing vocals – become a bit predictable.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Half Mast' started out more promisingly; the key gives it overtones of a Bond theme tune but unfortunately the opening mood is where the similarities end. 'Without Numbers', too, started out with a punchy, almost Funky rhythm but the song quickly falls into the old loop of vocals trying to capture emotion and a crescendoing piano part. Pianist and vocalist Leon Wiley has a similar affected and fragility-type quality to his voice as Sixx A.M. front-man, James Michaels. There's nothing bad about his voice but it's always utilized in the same way, over the same notes.

The whole album is produced cleanly and the musical performances are tight. There's evidence of some original writing in quirky drum beats, great harmonies from the backing vocals and some musical sparks in general. But they're few and quickly get lost and it leaves the album overall feeling bland.

Sophie Brownlee

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