Two years ago I walked into one my local record shops and was accosted by the clerk who’d been waiting for me. “Steeeeve,” he said. “You are going to looove this band.” He showed me a mostly white cover with embossed sketches of Greek men’s faces in profile. It was beautiful, beguiling and I was immediately interested. It took fewer than 30 seconds on the first track of Side A for me to decide to buy it. Now after a long wait, Bart has released their inspired follow-up album.
From production to execution, every aspect of this record is sensational. Utilizing a swirling kaleidoscope of song structure and tempos may at time obfuscate the purpose or direction of individual track however, taking the album as a whole it makes sense. A puzzle is only bewildering until you fit the pieces all together. Upon reflection and hindsight this album is no different.
From the opening notes of Don’t Push with its sultry film-noir melody that morphs into a soft spoken harmony led 70’s AM pop song, through If You Want Me’s polyrhythmic staccato accentuated by falsetto vocals and a tempo in constant flux, Please Explain This to Them’s direct radio-readiness, all the way through to Three by Noon’s aggressive punctuations followed by a soft, undulating path to the albums finish… everything. All of it. beautiful. A gentle jazz-infused pop odyssey.
In my younger years this album would have been beyond my scope, over my head, a mystifying concoction too mature for my senses. The pristine, almost saccharine and polished production might have deterred me from losing myself in Bart’s virtuosic abilities. But, that was then. Now, I’m older, more mature and ready to tell you how delicious the floaty, smooth and creamy melodies are… These tunes are like meringue pie for the mind. The sweet, layered textures are masterfully put together like Burt Bacharach on acid or Mr. Bungle with George Harrison leading the group instead of Mike Patton.
For fans of Steely Dan, Olivia Tremor Control, The Beatles White Album, The Weather Report