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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 23rd, 2014

Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League: Undefeated

BBJBobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League
Undefeated
(Bloodshot Records)

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Matt Rowland’s swishing organ bleed opens up into the chunky organ, guitar spike funk of “North Of Alabama By Mornin’,” the opener of Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League new album, Undefeated. Featuring harmonies that are invested on almost on every song, things get positively Bowie-ish during the chorus here.

“If She Cared” has a cool, growly, doubled vocal plus sweet female “oohs” and a slippy beach-like back beat. It’s lyrical territory we have seen before with Bare, but again it is the instrumentation here (especially Rowland’s piano) that lifts this one to a rarified height. “Don’t Wanna Know” sees a rolling bass from Jordan Caress, a “shunky” snare,  waggly sounding guitar, and again those great harmony vocals (Carey Kotsionis especially coming to the fore here), and some distorted lead playing; it’s a truly great mover.

Things sound all 50’s lounge-like (at least in the beginning) on the title track (a great tune, really) with well-placed pedal steel and Bare’s falsetto growing the tune into a truly wacky sonicscape. There’s an electric piano lead from Rowland, Neil Young-like guitar wailing and an ending that will truly knock your socks off as to how all the elements finally come together.

“My Baby Took My Baby Way” is a fun banjo/piano/drums/electric hoot with a wry lyric. Guitars flange under what is probably Bare’s strongest vocal and the loudest tune here, “As Forever Became Never Again,” and the last tune of the ten, “Don’t Stand At the Stove,” is a roiling electric guitar/drums and falsetto mélange that borders on both early Pink Floyd and again Neil Young territory.

Gifted songwriter as Bobby Bare, Jr. has always proved to be, what truly gets me on The Undefeated is the sonic landscapes the man is exploring with his band this time through. And how wonderful they are!

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Bobby Bare Jr.’s Young Criminals’ Starvation League: Undefeated