Review Summary: Beautiful indie-folk is just the tip of the iceberg for this up and coming band.
Barnaby Bright’s Wake the Hero
combines stunning vocal harmonies with heavy string sections to create a sound that is always smooth. The fresh-coat-of-wax buff gives their debut the sound of a work pieced together by seasoned musicians, a class that husband-and-wife duo Nathan and Rebecca Bliss will soon join with their current rate of rising exposure. Longtime dwellers of the underground New York/Philadelphia indie scene, Barnaby Bright has exploded in both maturity and recognition, with a safely consumable but undeniably gorgeous sound that has earned them features on the hit shows ER
and Days of Our Lives
, along with scoring third place in an international song-writing contest. Conspicuously mainstream in their mannerisms, Wake the Hero
shows us that marriage between indie-folk and pop can score big time accolades while maintaining its dignity.
Poignant lyrics help link the album’s sleek sound with the band’s masterfully crafted indie-folk credentials. One could cite ‘If I Came Back As a Song’ as the album’s most rewarding and complete track. The meticulous intertwining of deceivingly complex acoustic picking and lines such as “I wonder if I could come back as a song / I’d make my home inside a folk record sleeve / So you could play me when you’re feeling down / I would wrap you up inside my happy sound
” take the artificial shine off the record and place the music right next to your innermost desire for companionship. The album doesn’t duplicate this rate of success on a continual basis, but the occasional diamonds are enough to lift the album’s overall image to one that is more emotionally probing than it actually is. The vast majority of Wake the Hero
, however, relies on a combination of acoustic guitars, heart-tugging strings, and duets between the pair of skilled vocalists. While constantly engaging, there is frequently too little to distinguish one song from another (or Barnaby Bright from their contemporaries), leading Wake the Hero
to drag on occasion. However, even during these low points, the clear vocal talent of the Bliss duo combines with the band’s pleasant sounding strings to prevent the album from sinking to unlistenable levels. Thus, at its worst, Wake the Hero
is a forgettable exercise in easy listening.
Wake the Hero
provides a steady platform for Barnaby Bright to construct its empire. The band illustrates tendencies towards a more mainstream style of indie, but they also possess the musical background to create an honest, return-to-roots type of record. Or, perhaps, they will continue to fuse together elements of both as they have on this debut…either way, they appear primed to excel. For now, this is an album that plainly shows what Barnaby Bright is capable of, even if all of that potential isn’t encapsulated within Wake the Hero