Barzin

Barzin

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A group that evolved from a solo project, Barzin remains for the most part the creature of one Barzin H., a singer, guitarist, and songwriter based in Toronto. This eponymous CD boasts ripe writing skills, delicate arrangements, and exquisite production. Barzin's songs originate from the melancholic indie rock of Low, with hints of the American neo-folk current -- the beautiful "Morning Doubts," with light acoustic guitar strumming and droplets of piano chords, is much closer to the spirit and sound of Christian Kiefer's songs than anything post-rock. Barzin's voice is miced closely, catching every breath and swallowing, but this is not a trick to cover up a lack of vocal talent. His voice rings true, with enough flexibility to charm, even though it remains camped in its slow, confessional mood. Keyboardist Walter Kofman, Brett Higgins on double bass, and drummer Sam Cino appear on most of the tracks. Lewis Melville contributes some very effective atmospheric pedal steel guitar in "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Past All Concerns," two highlights. There is no weak moment on this album, but the closing instrumental, "Sleep," slower and more bare-boned, sounds like a concession to post-rock fashion: an ultra-simple, depressive guitar motif overtaken by emotive wails and feedback guitar. The other songs are more visceral and touching simply because they use less-obvious ways to reach you. And despite a certain melancholy, they remain spirited and engrossing in their peacefulness. Recommended.

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