Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Steve Barton and the Oblivian Click -- Flicker Of Time (2007)

Steve Barton and the Oblivion Click -- Flicker Of Time (Sleepless)

Barton’s latest solo album is further evidence of his career rejuvenation. A lot of what was cool about his work with Translator still sounds cool today -- from edgy rockers that are comparable to contemporaries such as Steve Wynn and Tim Lee to sparkling emotional pop songs that would have sounded as good in 1984 as they do right now.

The album breaks out of the gate with a fury, on the tense and involving “Cartoon Safe”. The song rides in on choppy guitars, with rushed clipped lead vocals, nearly heading to exhaustion before releasing with the melodic chorus (punctuated by stabbing lead guitar work). I’m not sure if he equals this song on the rest of the album, but he comes close.

Barton takes happy pills on the delirious “You Make Me Smile As Big As I Can”. This is sing-songy and silly, yet has a lot rock and roll muscle. It is followed by “Maps and Bridges”, which floats in and hooks deeply with its memorable melodic chorus, and then takes a turn for the brutally rocking, contrasting angst and beauty in a grand fashion.

The mood is more constant on the lovely piano ballad “Under a Broken Sky”, which has a quality that reminds me of Joe Jackson. Meanwhile, Barton takes a trip to Tin Pan Alley on the classicist pop lark “Thrill”.

With two fine solo discs under his belt, it’s safe to say that Barton is making music as good as he did two decades ago.

No comments: