Review Summary: An uninspired attempt from a band with limitless potential.
When Barefoot Truth appeared from nothingness in 2005 with their debut, Changes in the Weather, they were instantly accepted into the cult following of New England jam music. They had all the perfect characteristics: members with talents in multiple instruments, light-hearted bongo beats, and an optimistic message. They are experts at using silly lyrics and memorable to guitar hooks to create a nice acoustic, jam-folk sound. Their debut was perfect, its raw, unpolished sound gave everyone a glimpse into what this band could be. Sadly, instead of tidying up their notes and tightening their collaboration, they seem to have fallen into the opposite direction. 2007's Walk Softly is a mediocre release and has shamelessly jumbled all of the band's talents together in an attempt, it seems, just to put out an album. This album perfectly exemplifies the saying, quality, not quantity. Nine or ten great tracks would have been much more solid than this mediocre fifteen track album. Nevertheless, there are still a few worthwhile moments to be found on Walk Softly.
After much thought and about four different reviews I have started for this album, I couldn’t really pinpoint the problem with Barefoot’s music. Two months, about a hundred listens, and many many Tylenols later I think I have finally found ‘the problem.’ Barefoot Truth is a band who openly admits they are extremely influenced by bands like Dispatch and the John Butler Trio. I believe the band’s problem is that instead of finding their own style and flow in music, they try too hard to make their tunes sound like music by these other bands. One could compare them to a band like Pepper, or Slightly Stoopid, who both are heavily influenced and inspired by Sublime. The only difference with these bands is that all three have their own style and originality; both of which Barefoot Truth are lacking. They figure, Dispatch and John Butler Trio are great artists, so if we make our music sound like theirs people will like it as well. Maybe (Probably) I’m wrong, but it seems like this nevertheless. Hell, in the title track Walk Softly
the band even borrows lyrics from Dispatch and Jack Johnson. Luckily, the music is fast and catchy and the band makes up for the worn lyrics with nice acoustic guitar hooks. Barefoot also duplicates Dave Matthews Band with the opening track, The Best of Everything
. Though some may argue that some lyrics are different and it is acoustic, I wouldn’t point this out if there wasn’t an uncanny similarity. It seems Barefoot is just taking ideas from artists they praise and building their own music from the ashes of the former tracks.
While the light-hearted, speedy acoustic tracks are enjoyable to say the least, the slowed-down, songs of sorrow are absolutely awful to say the best. The Harvest
, clocking in at over six minutes, is just a mess. The band attempts to achieve a deeper, darker feeling with the addition of stringed instruments, but only boredom and repetition ensue. The sound just drones on and on. Speaking of repetition, try listening to Holding' On
in its entirety. It is a straight yawnfest. In Leaving Ourselves Behind
, Barefoot even goes so far as to use the exact same lyrics as the title track! Seriously, how can anyone bear to listen to a band whose originality-o-meter is at a .5" Luckily, Barefoot does manage to close out the album strong in a last attempt to make you like the music. Easy Come High
is a delightful refrain with the guitar and the vocals matching each other perfectly. Mama’s Minstrel
, while the lyrics are silly and a bit repetitive, is at least above average in terms of Barefoot’s music. Overall, it would appear that the band was fiending to just release an album and threw together the most predictable, repetitive album I’ve ever heard. Luckily, the band pulls themselves together just in time for a few highlight tracks. They say the sophomore album is always the hardest, so maybe we should give this quartet a break and let them regroup for their third release…
The Best of Everything
Easy Come High