Thursday, September 5, 2013
Barbarossa - Bloodlines
Bloodlines is emotion and vulnerability, expressed with fragility and nuance and buoyed by excellent melodies and a dose of R&B rhythms. The artist is Londoner James Mathé, who performs as Barbarossa. Mathé's most recent past incarnation was as an acoustic performer (on Scotland's venerable Fence Collective label), which makes this stylish makeover even more remarkable. The album suggests the culmination of several years of work in this genre, rather than a change in gears.
But Mathé was determined to show that he wasn't only a folky singer songwriter. With the assistance of synths, keyboards and drum machines he brushes his poignant stories on a broader canvas. The result is an artful combination of blue-eyed soul and electro-pop. If Mathé's muse continues to lead him down this path, I foresee very good things for the young man.
Here are three streams for you, beginning with a live version of the opening track, "Bloodline" --
Bloodlines is out now via Memphis Industries.