MusicRecord Reviews

David Barbe: 10th of Seas Review

(Orange Twin) The title of David Barbe’s new record is a reference to his history, which includes stints in influential bands Mercyland and Sugar, plus engineering credits for some of this century’s most prominent indie artists. “To sail across the 10th of seas would indicate traversing through the unknown, to have seen it all and then some,” Barbe writes in a press release.

Though he’s supported live by proteges New Madrid (as Inward Dream Ebb), Barbe wrote, played and recorded every bit of his new album, which spans a range of styles and attitudes. “Dim Bulbs” sets the tone with a ramshackle, lo-fi groove. “We’re All Here” oozes through a fuzzed-out first half before giving way to a sunny, psychedelic coda. The skewed doo-wop number “Why You Gotta Make It So Hard” segues into “Coils Coming Along,” a robust, King Tuff-style rocker.

10th of Seas greatest asset is its vitality. One might expect a middle-aged scene lifer’s solo album to sound muted, contemplative, worn. But even in its reflective moments, Barbe’s new album is unquestionably alive, bursting with the uniquely Athenian energy that has propelled the songwriter’s career from the start.