Anton Barbeau with the Bevis Frond
King of Missouri
King of Missouri is something of an intergenerational prog rock jam session. Anton Barbeau is a California songwriter who teams up with The Bevis Frond and ex-Hawkwind and Atomic Rooster bassist Adrian Shaw and ex-Camel and Marillion drummer Andy Ward. Looking at the players, I had misgivings. While I acknowledge The Bevis Frond are accomplished musicians, I’ve found their recordings to be largely nifty guitar bits in search of songs. Likewise, the prog rock bands the rhythm players worked with were prone to bombast.
Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Anton Barbeau harnessed the talents of his collaborators to serve a set of well crafted songs. Barbeau keeps things tightly focused, resulting in a disc of pleasantly off-kilter songs. Lyrically, Anton paints idiosyncratic portraits of unusual people. The title song is about a seemingly clean-living woman who exhibits some bizarre behavior and may be a stalker. Anton sings about interesting girls in coffee shops, clothes, offending friends and people he doesn’t like. All in all, King of Missouri is one of the stronger rock records I’ve heard in ages.
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