Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 17 July 2017

Death Express: Better Call Saul Little Barrie Are Back In Brighton

Little Barrie's fifth album, Death Express, packs a heavy punch, channelling the three members' ferocious musical chops into a raw, DIY response to today's atmosphere of confusion and division.

There's no political message, just lyrical food for thought, and some of the tautest, most incendiary grooves you"ll ever hear, enticing even dancefloor-shy listeners to hip-shake away their cares.
High-octane meditations on surveillance paranoia (Copter), devious policing at mass protests (Molotov Cop) and greed (Vulture Swarm) have rarely felt so irresistible to body movement.

For Little Barrie themselves, global events of the last twelve months were a surreal backdrop to their own bold progress as a band. 

"In downtime at our rehearsal room, we'd be looking at the news – everybody's gone nuts!" says bassist Lewis Wharton.

The album's genesis kick started, when Little Barrie were invited to provide incidental music for Better Call Saul, a spin-off series from hip TV phenomenon Breaking Bad, for which they'd already cut the theme tune. With no time to book a studio, they were forced to do it themselves, in their practice room. 

The response was favourable, and they began to feel that such DIY takes had a vibrant quality often lacking from 'proper' productions. 

Says group leader Barrie: "Such amazing records have been made when people are breaking the rules – weird, stripped-down, self-made records like "Oar" by Skip Spence, and "There"s A Riot Going On" by Sly & The Family Stone. 

"There's a bedroom aspect to it, and a street aspect, too, which felt right for what we wanted to say this time."

Three of their previous four albums were made at Edwyn Collins' West Heath facility in London. Last year, however, Edwyn upped sticks for rural Scotland, a happy development in his ongoing rehabilitation from serious illness, which left Little Barrie at a crossroads. 

On paper, the album's title looks dark. The title track arose, says Barrie: "when I was flicking through my phone to find someone's number, and I realised there"s quite a few people in there who aren't here anymore. 

"What with the state of the world, it feels like, as much as you can, you have to be around the people that are important to you. 

It's been inspirational knowing Edwyn, seeing how he's pushed really hard, and got his life back more than the experts expected. 

"Looking at things that way, the title's positive. Time's short. None of us know how long we've got. So, yes: the clock's ticking. Seize the day. Time to jump aboard."

Little Barrie play The Brunswick, Brighton, on  4th August 2017. For tickets CLICK HERE. New album Death Express is released on 7th July.

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

Little Barrie


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