Saturday, 24 February 2018

ANTON BARBEAU - NATURAL CAUSES (Gare du Nord/Beehive Records CD, D/L).

Sacramento born, resident of Berlin, citizen of the psychedelic realm, Anton Barbeau is back with a brand new album jam packed with sparkling Psych Pop gems. Natural Causes is the not-very-longawaited follow-up to 2016’s critically acclaimed Magic Act (“His new album bathes beautifully constructed, thoughtfully arranged songs in a fading psychedelic sunshine, and it would be many casual consumers' album of the year if only they got to hear it. Four stars.") and the very brilliant 2017 EP release on Fruits de Mer which included covers of songs by Traffic, Big Star and Bowie, as well as the curious original, ‘Secretion of the Wafer’, which Barbeau claims is "one of the greatest songs about crowd funding, possibly ever" and is included on this record in its original version. Barbeau’s 23rd record since 1993 is a bright, open,sometimes sad and often shimmering collection of new songs and splendid remakes that channel the greatest moments of Julian Cope’s early LPs on Mercury, Robyn Hitchcock, the Bevis Frond's Nick Saloman and the more psychedelically inclined mid 80s songs by XTC along with “classic” 60s Psychedelia influences (Syd Barrett, The Beatles etc.) to produce one of his most cohesive works to date.

Joined by an assortment of guest musicians, whose collective CV includes The Pretenders, Paul McCartney, the Bevis Frond, Todd Rundgren and The Soft Boys among others, multi-instrumentalist Barbeau has shaped an album of idiosyncratic, acid tinged, "pre-apocalyptic Psychedelic Pop" songs drenched in ancient Mellotrons, analog synths and 12-string guitars. Opening with the Neo-Psych Byrdsian jangle of a reworking of his 1993 song ‘Magazine Street’, Natural Causes is a journey round the psychedelic world of Anton Barbeau…….evolving from a project from a request from his Spanish label for a jangly 12-string pop song, he set out to make a glorious-sounding album, personal and not overtly political which revisited his back catalogue to include the Baroque Pop rarity ‘Creepy Tray’ and squally remake/remodel of the mind blowing ‘Just Passing By’ with the aforementioned ‘Magazine Street’ and also includes new jangly swirl outs like ‘Mumble Something’ and ‘Magic Sandwiches’. The result is a stunningly brilliant record of fantastic, quirky, timeless Psych Pop that any discerning PsychHead really needs to hear. We gotta admit that down in our psychedelic basement, even though we are massive fans of Cope, Hitchcock, XTC and the Bevis Frond, the psychedelic sounds of Anton Barbeau had gone way below our radar until this beauty dropped through the post portal, so Natural Causes works as both an introduction for new fans of the “cult hero’s cult hero” and a sparkly reminder for those that have tried to follow Anton Barbeau through his limited releases on obscure indies for a while now……..Check this out People, you wont be disappointed.

Due for a joint release on 13/04/2018 by London label Gare du Nord and Northern California based label Beehive Records, Natural Causes will be available on CD (and also as a digital download) from all the best record stores, the usual suspects on line and Bandcamp with pre-orders being taken now.

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