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SINGLE REVIEW: Waiting Outside Alone – Barbara.

Brighton’s shiniest band – Barbara – are back, bright and breezy as ever. Following on from their excellent Mildly Entertaining EP – which examined issues around the evils of social media – brothers Henry and John Tydeman have now set their acute sights on the failings of the British establishment, and they are taking no prisoners.

With their new single Waiting Outside Alone Barbara tackle the frustrations of the country’s marginalised youth in these political polarised times. According to Henry and John ‘Waiting Outside Alone both calls out the reactionary elements that have come to dominate British Politics and laments the sideling of young people from the fractious national debate’.

I always enjoy hearing a new release from Barbara. Most of the stuff I get sent to listen to is hearty ‘meat and two veg’ indie guitar rock. Barbara’s music is like a zesty, refreshing Lemon Sorbet. It delicately cleanses the musical palate.

Lyrically Waiting Outside Alone harks back to the wistful storytelling of The Kinks and The Hollies. With their contemplative words the Tydeman brothers demonstrate that you don’t need to be bombastic to protest a point. You don’t need to continually yell ‘If the kids are united’ to raise a voice for disaffected youth. With Waiting Outside Alone Barbara get their point across equally well but in a more mindful manner. Addressing the subject of misinformation John and Henry ask, ‘Shouldn’t the commentators’ comments be true’; and there’s a warning for those reactionary elements in Barbara’s crosshairs with the lines, ‘stiff upper lips, they won’t save the men in suits and the badger baiters’.

Sonically, the song blooms from Barbara’s firmly embedded roots set in mid-seventies rock and power pop artists like ELO, Wings and ABBA. The song begins with a marching snare drum coupled with a strident guitar riff. It develops in typical Barbaraesque style with vibrant vocal harmonies, delicate piano trills, quirky time changes, and finishes with a flourish with an elaborate Brian May style guitar solo.

Waiting Outside Alone is released on Wednesday 9th of November, and further enhances the producer credentials of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard main man Tom Rees, who has also been doing some excellent work with Welsh compatriots Panic Shack and The Bug Club.

The release of the song brings to an end an eventful year for Barbara who as well as supporting The Divine Comedy on a nationwide tour playing in venues like Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, also completed their own debut headline tour. Barbara may currently be Waiting Outside Alone, but if they look into the distance, 2023 can be seen emerging promisingly large on the horizon.

Ian Dunphy.

3 replies on “SINGLE REVIEW: Waiting Outside Alone – Barbara.”

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