Album: The Barker Band

Lonesome Waltz, BB
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The Independent Culture

Virtually full-time residents at London's Borderline club, this west-London combo, fronted by twins Sam and Jake Barker, may be if not the most accomplished then surely the most evocative British exponent of neo-traditionalist Americana. The jokey self-deprecation of the cover photo of kids playing at cowboys, and the suburban sunset on the reverse, actually sells the band's music short: there's plenty of true country soul in a song such as "Heart Like Mine", where the bluegrass fiddle, mandolin and banjo plunk with the sad amiability of authentic mountain music, while the brothers' husky, enervated harmonies work their enigmatic charm. They have an instinctive grasp of the haunted, yearning quality and lonesome-hearted melodies that animate sad songs such as "Never The Same" and "She Left Love", while "Boy Got Killed in Town" has a whiskery, ominous feel akin to one of The Handsome Family's parables. Tragic, but catchy. Alongside these weepies and warnings is a strain of more carefree, up-tempo country-rock, from the perky polka "Years Pass By" to the Burrito-esque hillbilly rocker "Sweetest Love".

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Heart Like Mine', 'She Left Love', 'Boy Got Killed in Town', 'Sweetest Love'

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