Barnes & Barnes
Demented Punk Records
When your musical career depends on Dr. Demento, I wouldn’t quit your day job just yet. Back in 1978, Barnes & Barnes put out a single with the turntable hit “Fish Heads” on it. It’s a novelty song that does not grow on you with repeated listening. Forty years and well over a dozen albums later, they just released their latest effort. This one has more straightforward new age sounding tunes illustrated with some cool cartoons.
The package I have here for your consideration is a two disc set with 13 tracks. There’s a conventional CD and a DVD with videos and a foldout poster of the cover art. Being a cool kid, I also got a press release, which makes me very proud. Musically, there’s a mix of low stress musical styles filed with smooth rock vocals and punctuated by spoken word mysteries.
The DVD videos all meet early MTV coolness standard with enigmatic visuals and floaty, relaxing music. Masks play a heavy role in the entertainment; the Barnes duo are very theatrical and use a composition of overlays, lo-fi lyrics, and high def animation to enlarge their mystery. Clips from early German horror and sci-fi films flit about, and the whole experience feels rather mystical and relaxing. Is there a hit song here? Hard to say, but I don’t see anything likely to jump out and go viral. But that’s not the style. What they go for is a serious nod from the jazz aficionado. “Interesting… interesting… I think I see where this is going… “