Roger Cole & Paul Barrere – Lost In The Sound – Album Review
Well would ya look at this lineup of tunes! Practically plays like a greatest-hits album with the number of pre-released singles that are featured on Roger Cole & Paul Barrere’s latest record, Lost In The Sound. Take note, independent musicians & bands from around the world…this is how ya do it…you test the waters with those singles and EPs…find a general consensus that reconciles that balance between what you wanna put out there and what the people want to hear from you, and BOOM – world’s your oyster. And then if you’re smart like these boys and the crew that backs them at Better Daze Records, when the time comes, you get the pick of the litter all together and assembled into one killer album & experience like you find on Lost In The Sound. Not a bad strategy, no sir, no ma’am – these are all great ideas in how to approach putting your music and creating a strong buzz & awareness around the official release when all is said and done. Half of this record consists of some of the best songs they’ve released as singles over the past year and a half…they’ve taken their time to assemble a strong lineup of tunes and of course, the limitlessly creative duo has also made sure to include a whole bunch of new songs too.
So there you have it, they’re in good shape and put themselves in solid position to succeed, case closed.
Roger & Paul started their new record with a reliable tune and a smooth groove to get Lost In The Sound heading in the right direction with “In My Prison” up first on the album. With that chilled-pace, low-end groove and atmospheric-rock sound, they’ve chosen wisely with a strong song; having “In My Prison” still gives them room to amp-up the energy even further from there and continue to pull you into the record, which they’ll go onto do with one of the new tunes, “Send In The Canary.” You can find my full thoughts on “In My Prison” right here, but suffice it to say, I think it’s a great choice to start the album and gives it plenty of room to expand in pretty much any direction they could possibly want from there.
“Seems like half the world’s gone stupid, the other half insane.” Amen brother, I hear ya on that. That’s one of the great lines you’ll find in the lyrical insight of what’s damn near a punk-thrasher for these guys. Groove-rock at the very least, “Send In The Canary” is an early highlight on the record that the DeLeo brothers would be plenty proud of if they’d written it themselves…Roger & Paul are locked into a sound that has them in a Stone Temple Pilots vibe. Interesting cut in the sense that I wouldn’t expect this tune from the boys…I don’t know that many people out there that follow their music would either – I like that kind of surprise when I listen to new music, don’t you? Loved the mix, loved the recording, loved the amount of control you can hear in the musicianship & instrumentation even though the song still retains that thrashing spirit of real rock in the air. Clever words from Roger, solid performance on the mic and great mix on the vocals – WICKED tone from Paul’s guitars…dammit, I mean, this song is just all-out FUN while still providing another layer of depth through the insightful, thought-provoking lyricism. Bass is rippin’ it up, the beat is killer…”Send In The Canary” freakin’ ROCKS and is definitely an early highlight; as unexpected as it was, they really own this song’s every moment and prove they can rock as hard as they wanna. It also sets off a chain reaction of new tunes to follow, with their title-track up next on the list.
“Lost In The Sound” takes them into more progressive territory in a complex melody that winds through several parts, taking you on that genuine adventure in music that the title somewhat implies. The lyrics will take it into several possible interpretations…but there’s definitely a theme expressed that resonates the message that we’re not listening as closely as we should be…perhaps so “Lost In The Sound” that we’ve forgotten which of those sounds around us all day are the ones that truly matter. Just a theory. Lyrically, it runs pretty deep and does allow for a lot of interpretation, which is always cool. They do a great job of putting imagery into their words and allowing your mind to come up with different theories while you listen to the music groove & do its thing. Loved the opening guitars and mystical-sound that comes through the opening of “Lost In The Sound,” dig the bass-rhythms a lot there too as the verse begins. Harmonies are strong in the chorus, love the thunderous beat that comes in when they plunge back into the verse…I’ll admit that the hooks of this song are less likely to grab people right away, but clever additions to the song like Roger’s vocal-mix around the two-minute mark, the wild solos & instrumentation to follow, the bridge…it all adds to the experience and creates an adventure in sound. It’s likely less accessible than the two grooves that surround it, but “Lost In The Sound” also helps the record overall by giving it that multi-dimensional, versatile mix in the lineup that helps tunes stand out. Though we never officially covered this one in review, we have seen the video that was released earlier in 2017 and now YOU CAN TOO – here you go! No excuses now, go on & click this to watch!
Like for instance, when they kick-in to “Let It Go,” you notice. Not taking anything away from the writing and ambition of “Lost In The Sound,” it’s a complex tune with multiple ideas to look after…but when you hear the immediate grip that the sound of “Let It Go” takes on you, it’s like a breath of fresh air blew right back into the energy of this album and they’re rolling along confidently once again. Twelve seconds in, your jaw should drop to the floor and “Let It Go” should be tantalizing your eardrums already…because that, my friends…THAT is what you call a serious groove right there. Roger & Paul sound like what you might imagine Tom Primus & The Heartbreakers could have been. I didn’t get that wrong btw – Roger sounds like Tom Petty fronting Primus writing from a Heartbreakers approach – so I gave it a name. And if that description doesn’t sound like something you’d want to listen, then brother, you are reading the WRONG page today…because a combination like that, on paper, would be extremely appealing to me already – and the reality is, this tune is that much better than the high expectations a description like that should induce. Seriously…what’s NOT to love about “Let It Go?” Every sound in the music on the guitars and bass qualify for the gnarliest sounds you’ll hear this year – the pace and deadly groove they lock into is massively cool…like as in, if there was an audio-book spoken-word recording of the entire damn dictionary, they’d just replace the dude about to say ‘cool’ and just jam this tune in there instead so the definition would be entirely clear to ALL. You feelin’ me people? I’m just slightly stoked on this tune…you can tell right? Everything fits so perfectly here on “Let It Go” – vocals nailed, music nailed, ideas & ambitions executed in-full…you couldn’t ask for more.
I double-checked the previous review I wrote about “All That I Need” just to make 100% sure of the fact that I pointed-out the sick Sly & The Family Stone-esque groove that they put into this tune. One of my favorite performances from Roger in the vocals adding to the slick bass tones and addictive movement of the song – “All That I Need” is like one big giant hook that never lets you go. Definitely a great choice to include with this diverse set of tunes and certainly one that my ears welcomed back, I love this cut. Read my full thoughts on “All That I Need” right here in my previous review. You can also check out the review on the following song “Final Curtain” right here, which is a SLICK song to have worked into the lineup here – it’s actually a solo-tune from Roger Cole. It’s a solid inclusion that fits right in here…Cole might get a little crazy and excited with those drums, but you can tell it must all have the full support of his cohort Paul if it’s showing up here on the new album, which says a lot about them both. Or it might just suggest that Roger won the arm-wrestle to settle the debate – we’ll never know! Another insatiable groove that really takes over Cole’s spirit though – he gets right into “Final Curtain” and I think it was without a doubt a great cut to include on this album overall.
“Grain Of Sand” was one of the most interesting tracks from the new stuff I hadn’t heard yet – though it took me a while to get into this one by comparison to many of the rest. Roger & Paul dial back the energy here for a more tender and personal moment on “Grain Of Sand,” which incorporates a hell of a mix into its chilled-out atmosphere & approach, as well as a significantly cool transition in sound as the song plays on. Cole sounds closer to Costello than he does to Petty here…”Grain Of Sand” presents itself with a lighter attitude and loose vibe as it starts, with Cole taking his singing in a different direction than we’ve heard in the past. Suits him pretty well at the beginning, later on, I think he rises to the challenge even more, which is also in part due to the fact that music finds a noticeable second-gear that evolves the entire idea that much further as it gets fuller in sound. “Grain Of Sand” definitely has one of my favorite instrumental sections and guitar solos on this record…they really hit a sweet spot around the three-minute mark of this cut, but really, they’ve worn this loose groove pretty damn well throughout. Incidentally, this tune was also released a while back, just happened to be one of the few we haven’t reviewed yet…which is almost strange at this point considering how much of their music we’ve covered.
They head into the lead-single from the album, “Political Freakshow,” which began the countdown to this record from about the summer of last year. Another worthy inclusion and highly entertaining tune – immaculately prophetic in many ways, completely playful in others – piano pounding out the notes on “Political Freakshow,” awesome crunch in the tone of the guitars to go with it & wild bass-lines…solid cut then, solid cut now – check out the full review on the first single from this record right here.
I was probably least sold on “Indifference” – but maybe they almost felt the same, hence the title? It’s not a bad tune by any stretch – I dig the stylistic vocal-flow from Cole in the verse but I was a lot less sure about some of the harmonies in the chorus and the cadence to the lyrics. Musically, great guitar parts…a really cool, isolated and intimate solo spans through the middle of this tune gorgeously, and I think overall the pace and movement of this song has a charm and appeal to it. The main hooks in “Indifference” largely reside in the verse of this tune for me personally, that’s the way I heard it; the chorus doesn’t seem so much confused as it does like an early rush to record on this idea perhaps. I suspect there’s a stronger angle to approach the potential of this tune from, which might just come from knowing the material for a little longer and really finding its heartbeat…but I really dig the nearly beat-poet style that Roger delivers throughout the verse and the boldness of the bass tones along the way. There are positives for sure…a few uncertainties, but nothing so jarring that would make “Indifference” not be a suitable fit for the lineup on Lost In The Sound, it’s just a super low-key groove.
If they were set on including “You’re Annoying” on this record, then they found the right spot for it. I’ve reviewed this final tune in the past & know full well that this tasty country-folk melody has plenty of humor in its approach and it’s a perfectly executed track overall in performance & production. The call & answer style of the chorus works amazingly well for them, and as listeners, it’s the kind of track you end up singing along with quickly…and then you realize what it is you’re singing about…and you laugh…because songs like this are completely designed for you to have the great time you end up having while listening to it. Does it fit Lost In The Sound or serve to further the experience of the record as a whole? Harder to say…it’s 100% different from the rest of the songs on the album, but because it sounds & seems like such an afterthought in so many ways – it kinda ends up becoming a perfect ending to the album and ends the experience on a lighter-note. So for me, it worked here at the end of Lost In The Sound and I think I can pretty much say definitively that were it to exist anywhere else in the record’s playlist, I probably wouldn’t feel the same way. It makes for what sounds like a true conclusion to an album and ends this record on a satisfying & fun tune – ain’t nothin’ wrong with that as far as my ears are concerned. Besides…given the fact that this record truly does play a lot like a greatest hits record, you’re allowed to have a little fun & celebration at the end aren’t ya?
Roger Cole and Paul Barrere continue to display much talent and multiple ideas worth your time to listen to – and as you’d expect from this reliable duo of musical-entertainment, they’re as into it all as ever, and they sound fantastic as a result yet again on this satisfying set of tunes from Lost In The Sound.
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