“Berliner Grotesk” Anton Barbeau
Anton Barbeau labels his music “pre-apocalyptic psychedelic pop,” which provides a bit of insight into this mad magician’s approach to his craft. Barbeau is local (a Sacramento native), who now lives and records in Berlin, Germany. He’s prolific — producing around 20 albums in 25 years. And he has recorded with well-known and highly respected members of XTC, The Soft Boys, the Bevis Frond, Cake, and more. On “Berliner Grotesk,” all his talents and proclivities are on display: lyrics that offer wry insight into life’s trials and tribulations, a love of the weird and wonderful, a flare for the melodramatic (in Bowie-like fashion), and consummate professionalism.
RIYL: Bowie, psych-rock, glam rock, alternative theatrical rock.
Recommended: 10, 7, 3, 8, 1, 4. No FCCs detected.
1. (3:05) Berliner Grotesk — Circus-like composition in 3/4 time. Piano. Organ. Musical theater-type vocals. ***
2. (2:23) I Been To Bromley — Meandering piano. Synth strings. Guitar solo in lead break.
3. (2:26) Love Me Do — Reggae cover of the Beatles tune, originally recorded by the band in 1962. Harmonized vocals. Guitar with weird psych effects in lead break. ***
4. (1:20) Down Weird Dog — Playful tune about a dog, with a tongue-in-cheek title that’s a play on the yoga pose. **
5. (2:59) The Gruff Exterminator — Leisurely walking pace with somewhat singsong, crooning vocals. Synth orchestral chords in lead break.
6. (2:37) Baby Can You? — Power-pop anthem. Plinking piano with a stop-and-go beat. Synth orchestral backing.
7. (3:20) Horns — Piano ballad. Very Bowie…but with weird lyrics about holding on to a girlfriend via horns glued to her head. Strangely captivating. ***
8. (3:09) Not The World’s Most Wave-Formed Man — Swinging pop melody. Piano. Organ. Bells. Intricate rhythm using sticks on drum rims or blocks. ***
9. (1:42) Disaster On Sandwich Island — Melancholy piano melody with quavering vocals. Swelling synths in the background.
10. (4:21) don’tforgettogetyourfingerwet — The single! Upbeat pop-rock with a hooky melody. Piano. Pulsing bass. Tumbling tom-toms. Big synth chords in the choruses. Fun lead break. ****
11. (2:34) Boxcat Blues — Wistful psych-rock. Lilting piano. Reverbed vocals. Sampled voices in places.