CD REVIEW Barcelona Debut Album Not ‘Absolute’
Music a Slightly Better-Than-Bland Blend
I like coffee. A lot. It’s great. Now that the year’s started, I seem to be drinking a lot more of it. More than I have over the last two weeks, anyway. Based on what I have written so far, you might think this an article about coffee. Hell no. It’s an album review.
I listened to an album named Absolutes, by a band called Barcelona. I listened to it twice. I’m listening to it right now. Here’s the two-sentence summary: “It’s About Time,” “Lesser Things,” and “Colors” are the stand-out tracks, and they’re basically an Interpol derivative. Saying that probably makes me look like a jackass. If the members of Barcelona were to read this, they’d be like, “What a jackass.” Some people really like the two-sentence summary. If one of those people is you, then have that one. It’s yours. I hate the two-sentence summary. I also hate long-winded analogies, though. But maybe you like them. If that’s the case, you win.
So what is Barcelona like? Coffee comes to mind. Lots of things have been reminding me of coffee lately, though. And I don’t even drink that much coffee. Maybe two or three cups a day. Normal-sized cups. It’s drinking coffee really late at night that can mess you up, though. It makes you all scatterbrained the next day. I had maybe two cups of coffee last night.
Barcelona reminds me of coffee. But there are different types of coffee, with important differences. Take Interpol, for instance. They’re like that hipster coffee shop, though none of their customers would ever talk about it like that. Yes, that one. And it’s so universally cool, as far as they’re concerned, to go to this place, that they do it all the damn time. Some of them probably don’t even like the way the coffee tastes. Or maybe they used to go wild for it and now they’ve changed their minds but don’t want to say anything about it. Who knows. To be fair, they actually do make a pretty respectable brew. And for the sake of argument, let’s even go as far as saying that it’s the best coffee in this whole damn allegorical town.
Barcelona, on the other hand, is not the best coffee in town. Try a cup. Immediately, I think you’d be able to make the connection. Maybe it’s intentional on their part, and maybe it isn’t. “Lesser Things” is a good example of what I mean. Some people will probably like Barcelona’s coffee better. That’s not inconceivable. It’s sweeter. Less bitter. No sort of acquired taste. The shop is admittedly way less crowded on a daily basis. Some people like that.
There are lots of other similar flavors out there, too. Like Snow Patrol. They’re like the shop that used to be great until it got ZAGAT-rated, and now they practically sell sugar water and at half the price because their clientele nowadays can’t really taste the difference. And somewhere in everyone’s palate is a place for Guster, who practically have a shop on every street corner in town. They’re like the fast-food coffee — the one with just as many calories as a cheeseburger. I think the purists are probably just pissed off that it’s so damn delicious, but it’s true that you probably won’t get a buzz from it.
Does that even make sense? On a street somewhere in that town, among those bands, is where Barcelona would live if I were the one who drew all the maps. Something like that. My eyelid has seriously been twitching all morning. I think maybe I could use a nap.