Barr | Summary (5 Rue Christine)

cd_barrWhat listeners have with Summary is a raw, uncensored cut of what could certainly use some severe translation





First sign a CD review is going to be trouble: when you're handed a CD along with a gentle, yet discouraging, "It's not bad for what it is." Definitely not the thing to say. Ever. Perhaps another telltale sign: a press release littered with grammatical errors, including, but not limited to, a misspelling of one of the band's CDs, in this case Beyond Reinforced, the previous release by musicians Brendan Fowler (piano, drums, and vocals) and Corey Dieckman (bass). A follow up to Beyond Reinforced, Summary promises to be a collection of work that "evokes raw emotion in much the same way would a novel, movie, classic concerto, or sonnet."

Emotional, maybe, but it's doubtful that listeners will find themselves making the same journey here that they might with say Joyce or Nabokov. Inevitably with most exploratory pieces like these, the message and importance of it falls deafly on outside audiences. Much like the creative process in writing, the artist spends a period of time digesting their emotional turmoil before producing a translation of in some medium. What listeners have with Summary is a raw, uncensored cut of what could certainly use some severe translation.

The album is filled with despondent energy and a current of spoken word poetry that never quite comes together. Lyrically, the songs are sporadic, without the necessary cohesion to relate anything more than pained rants. The freeform manner in which Fowler delivers his peculiar musings does little to enhance the listening experience, as listeners will probably spend most of their time trying to parse out the meaning of Fowlers perplexing lyrics.

Cited as one of the most draining pieces of the album, "Complete Consumption of Both of Us," supposedly takes listeners into a "very dark place and quite possibly may be unlistenable to anyone not wanting to revisit such emotions." Honestly, it sounds more like visiting a drunk after a recent breakup. Fowler continually goes back and forth, self-questioning on the topic of love. Perhaps the strongest lyrics in the song, "Words aren't sad enough. Music isn't sad enough" offer the most poignant revelations for the entire album. Unfortunately, the song quickly degenerates into a bickery mess that concludes with such stunner revelations as, "Catharsis is real. Catharsis is real."

As far as physical impressions, the album has a pretty tame presentation. A halved photograph of a shirtless man bathing himself in a sink juxtaposes wilting flowers in a perfectly square display that features the entirety of the album's lyrics in microprint on the reverse. A soap swan covers the CD along with the chalky scribble of "Barr" and "summary." The back cover consists of another shot of the man in the sink, and makes for a questionable introduction to a rather questionable album. C | James Nokes

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