If you are a Radiohead fan, with a penchant for legends like Pink Floyd and King Crimson, then Roger Cole & Paul Barrere will be an easy band to fall in love with. Thick haunting atmosphere, lots of bleeps and beeps, intense melodies, beautiful vocals and mystery-veiled lyrics, are part of the deal on their latest, freshly baked album “Lost in the Sound”. The riffs and parts are tight, intense little affairs with so much power as to build a cinematic degree of tension. These are well-oiled high-thread-count arrangements that draw their texture from an array of stringed instruments and keyboards, building lush layered harmonies. It’s a beautiful sound that shows it’s depth on repeat listens. Multiple listens reveal a rich complexity that becomes increasingly engaging. I encourage you to listen to “Lost in the Sound” several times prior to forming a conclusive opinion about this incredible album.
I believe Roger and Paul to be gifted musicians that don’t just pick up their instruments and play for some cash, but put great thought into what they do and equally would like to be proud of the sounds they create. More and more often music is referenced by other bands – “oh, it sounds like so and so” or “so and so is the new blahblah”. In fact I made the same error right on the opening line of this review.
To be truthfully honest, Roger Cole & Paul Barrere manages to sidestep these identifiers creating their own music without falling into the pit of preconceived notions. What they do have in common with the aforementioned bands though, is timeless music.
When I first started telling people about Roger Cole & Paul Barrere, I’d find myself at a loss for words, when asked to describe what it sounded like. Expansive, harmonic, bluesish, rockish, but always elusively avoiding falling into one definitive sound, which is the strength of their music, and this album in particular. Ideally, great bands will evolve and not keep putting out different versions of the same song, which is what they do.
Lyrically, Roger Cole & Paul Barrere veer between thinly veiled allegories of weighty, real-world disquiet, and terse, unknowable personal impressions. By cutting themselves off from a hurry-everywhere-and-everything society, Roger and Paul have successfully realized their most rewarding record yet.
Where the somnambulant rock sway of opener ‘In My Prison’ and the lead single ‘Lost In The Sound’ present a rich wealth of epic atmospheric and melodic finesse, mid-album highlight ‘Let It Go’ – with its rhythmic flourishes and darkly harmonic twists and turns – makes for borderline grandstanding stuff.
Elsewhere, the shrewd shifts and almost-imperceptible tonal changes on mid-album peaks ‘All That I Need’ and ‘Final Curtain’ capture the band’s knack for exquisite chord changes that reward a keen ear. Woven with sweeping arrangements – not least on ‘Political Freak Show’’ – Roger Cole & Paul Barrere have once more mined majesty from honoring the craft of the song, not to mention the profound air of musical wanderlust that is forged when Roger and Paul bang heads.
Both masters of understated flourishes – delivering many moments of instrumental and vocal brilliance that marry classic, prog and art-rock influences, Roger Cole & Paul Barrere notch up at times, to a realm of straight-up virtuosic finesse.
The duo has been able to indulge as many whims as they’ve felt right. Listen to the amusing ‘Your Annoying’, or the oblique and artsy ‘Indifference’, as well as my favorite, ‘Grain of Sand’. The sounds captured, as lusciously organic as they are, are perfect for the overall pitch of this release.
This is music stemming from a place that few artists can access. The songs are focused and determined. It’s like hearing the past half a century of rock music playing in one single album, which sounds—thrillingly and reassuringly—like the future to me! Out via Better Daze Records the album ‘Lost In The Sound’ is available now!