For all its qualities as a langue du monde (pardon my French), music is so regional. And Barcelona is Seattle. Barcelona is the name of the band that was created in Seattle two years ago when singer- songwriter Brian Fennell decided to join his vocal forces and keyboard with his college buddies Chris Bristol on the guitar and Rhett Stonelake, the “drums in the baaand,” (and childhood pal Brian Eichelberger on the bass, if we’re gonna be technical, but he stayed home and thus didn’t make it here). So they’re called Barcelona, but they sound like Seattle: alternative soft piano self-proclaimed “melodic indie rock machine” – a lot like Keane in “Hopes and Fears,” really. I hear them and I think Americano-with-cream in down-town Seattle with maybe Pike’s Place and the Anacortes Ferry and the Cascades thrown in. They’ve got something going.
Brian explained that “the name Barcelona means a lot of things to us, but the honest story is that the night of our first show we still didn’t have a name, and that was a name in the pool so an hour before the show we put our hands in the middle and I said, “Guys, we are going to be Barcelona… we decided to define it later.”
The image that they project now, two years later, reflects talent and personality. They’re charismatic performers and their music is beautiful; it accomplishes their goal of moving the audience to experience the emotion of the moment with them. They have plenty of talent. Rhett, who is 6’5” (believe me, that is tall – wah, wah taller than you think it is) can do amazing gymnastics besides beat his drums, so that shows skill, but the band’s covers and goofing around on stage prove they are artists. They’re more than capable of pursuing any style they please, but they found a sound that fits them like a glove and so that’s what they are wearing.
What I can’t believe is that they haven’t recorded “One is the Loneliest Number.” The only cover I’ve ever heard that is anything like it as far as sheer astounding quality is House of the Rising Sun by Muse –it’s the cover that the song was composed to be covered in: it sets magic soakin your spine. But even though “One” is not on their album, Absolutes is magnificent: every song is a rrringerr. Listen to “Colors” and feel your world change. Brian sniffs at my bourgeois bubble-popping sensibilities: he said he expresses himself best with “dirges.” But the fact remains that “Colors” is a song that expresses what you see and draws what you feel and wraps you up in at least 3 dimensions of lyric texture. And that’s important cause Color makes me smile.
Barcelona is still defining themselves, making stories (a band fav, just ask) en route on their 1st cross-country tour, but, so far, seriously – a Seattle-evocative, piano-driven group of good-lookers? they’re schnaz. Check em out.
House o the Risin Sun <a href=”“>