Music News

Little Barrie

The inevitable indie-funk wave has crashed on American shores, and its salty foam's getting critics all moist and breathless. We Are Little Barrie is a sly, hopelessly hip introduction to the trend: a tightly wound amalgam of Meters-like funk and Donovan-esque Northern soul psychedelics that's as authentically British as Austin Powers' snaggletoothed mug. Which is to say, not very, but it's fun as hell, and who cares as long as it makes you randy, baby?

Truth is, the Nottingham, U.K., trio nods toward American ragmop revivalists like Galactic and G. Love for its modern context but steps out with a vintage jangle-funk boogie that echoes back through the decades. From Staxx to Sly to the Godfather, Little Barrie parlays its black American influences into all the white moves, Brit style -- sort of a leaner, sweatier Gomez. Lead vocalist/guitarist (Little?) Barrie Cadogan pulses with minimalistic, wiry soul, high-impact in voice and syncopated strumming, taking tracks like "Free Salute" and "Long Hair" into anthemic heights. The two-man rhythm section is a masterfully understated match, walking bass lines and lingering ride cymbals sticking these tracks together like Krazy Glue. There's crazy potential for mass appeal here, so long as you take your funk with a Brit lilt and your soul with indie insolence.

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Jonathan Zwickel