February 13, 2020

Anton Barbeau Présente: Kenny vs Thrust

Anton Barbeau w/ Kenny - photo: Julia VBH

Psychedelic power pop singer and multi-instrumentalist Anton Barbeau has made his mark on both sides of the Atlantic in his storied career, so it makes perfect sense that he recorded one half of his new album with his Stateside band, Sacramento's Kenny, and the other half with a UK one, Oxford's Thrust (perhaps better known as Charms Against The Evil Eye). Now living in Berlin, but mostly found in recording studios or on stage, he has created a huge and eclectic discography that secured his place in the acid pop pantheon with the likes of Andy Partridge, Robyn Hitchcock, and Julian Cope. His way with words and sharp ear for hooks and melody made him a musicians' musician and the subject of a vocal cult following.

On Kenny vs Thrust Barbeau returns to the heyday of Seventies rock, using the classic format of a rock quartet with two guitars, bass and drums, augmented by a slew of guest musicians to add extra textures and sounds. Most of the songs are not new as such. Barbeau dug deep in his back catalog to find gems from his past bands and projects, rearranging them or putting them upside down completely. His lone protest song Land of Economy, with the great line "sing me a song without a chorus // I wanna know who killed the forests", gets a full-on Paisley underground treatment, while Beautiful Bacon Dream is transformed into a sleazy, psychedelic come hither invitation.

Anton Barbeau w/ Thrust - photo: Laima Bite

His free-form lyricism reaches a high water mark during Clean Clothes In A Dirty Bag. Imagine a stoned out of his mind Dylan doing the Oblique Strategies thing. Baroque pop gets a place is the spotlights with Back to Balmain. Often stating that he does not know himself where his word come from, it's best to go with the flow. Try googling a song that name checks both Roger Taylor and Leo Sayer and the sole result will be Tidy Up Yourself.

Kenny vs Thrust is the musical equivalent of a kaleidoscope, a treasure trove of unruly, quirky music. Ending the album with dancing skeletons and mermaids in Burning Burning, the sole solution as to make sense what just happened, is to push "repeat". Well, maybe more than once.

Kenny vs Thrust is released via Big Stir Records.

  1. Wire From The Wall
  2. Land of Economy
  3. Beautiful Bacon Dream
  4. Jingle Jangle
  5. Clean Clothes In A Dirty Bag
  6. Haunted In Fenland
  7. Back to Balmain
  8. Popsong 99
  9. Tidy Up Yourself
  10. Mahjong Dijon
  11. Burning Burning

» antonbarbeau.com

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