Bloodlines

Artist
Release Date
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Barbarossa is James Mathé from London. You may remember him from when he was signed to Fence Records and released the well received debut album Chemical Campfires, which sounded, for want of a better comparison, a bit "Fence Collectivey". His new music is ambitiously electro and he's jumped ship to Memphis Industries, home of kindred spirits Dutch Uncles and Field Music. Things aren't quite as frantic as these aforementioned label mates though, the new record Bloodlines plays out at a consistently docile pace with a fittingly downbeat moodiness hanging over the entire thing. This occasionally works very well, like on "The Load" which summons up an air of Erasure in one of their darker moments (think "Ship Of Fools", and if you take this as a complaint then you are gravely mistaken). The following track "Savious Self" sounds exactly like a Twin Peaks out-take (again, this is not a complaint), with some beautifully haunted versus leading into chorus which finally gives the album some colour and light in amongst all the gloomy reflecting. "Butterfly Plague" is another high pount, proving that Mathé has a definite knack for writing dark pop music.  Elsewhere, the album keeps to its established tone, impressing but never really excelling or engaging fully. That said, fans of Antony Hegarty and James Blake wouldn't go far wrong by taking a punt on this one.