Friday, October 16, 2009

FDF Volume 2: Issue 161 Holy Barbarians - Cream

By: March

Album - Cream
Artist - Holy Barbarians
Key Players - Patrick Sugg - guitar and backing vocals. Scott Garrett - drums and percussion. Matt Garrett - bass*. Ian Astbury - lead vocals and percussion.
* in the liner notes Orlando Simms is listed as "bass on album"
Produced By - Matt Hyde and Ian Astbury

Release Date - May 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust? - The old random pan and scan of the cd rack.

Overview - Liverpool, England based Holy Barbarians released their lone album in May of 1996. The album was received pretty well by critics but it did not sell to larger audiences. Ian Astbury, largely known as the lead singer of the band "The Cult" formed the band with three American musicians and they'd tour extensively for the record. A very stripped down mix of psychedelic and garage rock found its way to Cult fans, but little others.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The single to American fans was "Brothers Fights" a dual guitar opener that quickly finds a grungy, rock groove. Ian shakes his tambourine and the band folds in to the mix. The band is never flashy, allowing only a quick guitar solo, but it is a "to the point" track. "Dolly Bird" keeps with the crunchy guitar but this time there is a layer of keyboard over the top. The band eases off some and Ian has a smooth, crooning vocal delivery. In the studio Ian always shines. The title track begins seamlessly and it much more laid back. The guitars have a lighter feel to them, and there are bursts of acoustic guitars tossed in the mix. "Blind" is a much more up tempo track and the band bears down. It is very similar to the sound of some of the Cults music at or about that time. Big guitar chords and driving bass and drum lines. "Opium" is another laid back track allowing the focus to be on the vocals. Percussive instruments fill in any gaps/voids and the song has an almost flamenco feel, but the guitars are not fast enough for that. The song slowly builds and gets more urgent, while seeming to keep a level field. "Space Junkie" opens with a heavily compressed guitar riff that appears at times during the song, but the song rolls into a sort of chanted/monotone vocal delivery for the verses before the chorus comes up and Ian pushes himself further. Later in the track one guitar solos while a second buzzes over it for a unique sound. "She" returns to a more mellow feel of some of the earlier tracks. It will perk up from time to time, leading in to the chorus, but it never really explodes by any stretch. There is a quick solo before the bass and drums drive the tune back to the verse. "You Are There" is the obligatory sort of power ballad on the record, but the music is a little more heavy for a ballad so its sort of a false claim I am making. Its sort of run of the mill. Acoustic guitars open "Magick Christian" and again we get sort of a mid tempo ballad hybrid of a song. It never really gets interesting musically or vocally and actually seems to go on just a bit too long. The album closes with "Bodhisattva" a middle eastern musical feeling track at the outset before the guitars get rolling. The back beat keeps the tune moving along and the percussive instruments get a work out. The guitar riff sounds like something the Stone Roses might have unleashed as well.

Where are they now?
- This was the lone release from the band. There were reports the band was going to work on a second album but Ian went on to work on a solo record, and eventually reformed with Billy Duffy from the Cult, and the two would write, record and perform live as The Cult.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I did see the band one time live. I don't have a ticket stub for the exact date but it was at Club Babyhead in Providence. I recall calling the club the day of the show and being told to "arrive early" since there were few tickets left. Raced down there with a buddy, and by the time the Barbarians took the stage there was maybe 75 people there. It was horribly undersold. We did meet Ian before the show, asking "why are you hanging out here" and he said "where else can I go?" He was pretty cool and we ended up walking backstage after the show and hanging out then too. This time we spent more with the band than Ian..Ian and some women around him so he was busy in that sense.

FDF Overall Take
- Honestly this record filled a gap for me. I have been a Cult fan for ages and this was the band that Ian did after disbanding the Cult, so I was curious for sure. It is not terrible, but listening now it has more valleys than peaks. I am glad Ian is back with Billy in the Cult, even if they say they may never release another record. If you see it for cheap, and you like Ian's voice, grab it.


Nothing for the Barbarians, so here is one for The Cult.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3's have been removed.


Tracks taken from "Cream" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 8:04 PM, Anonymous brian said...

didn't know about this one. thanks for the introduction.


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