Having enlisted the services of indie pop stalwart Edwyn Collins for a second time, Nottingham trio Little Barrie return from a rather lengthy five-year absence with their third record, King of the Waves, aiming to recapture the raucousness and raw energy of their electrifying live sound. Right from the first track, "Surf Hell" (recently heard as the theme tune to C4 comedy drama Sirens), it's clear they mean business, as Barrie Cadogan's attitude-laden vocals swagger their way through an array of '60s Brit-pop harmonies and blistering rockabilly riffs, while the galloping dirty basslines and foot-stomping rhythms of "How Come" and the Kasabian-esque "Does the Halo Rust" keep up the authentic garage rock revival schtick. While this opening trio has a certain old-fashioned charm, there are times when the muddy production begins to sound tired rather than vintage, particularly on the self-indulgent jam session of "Tip It Over" and the formulaic acid rock of "I Can't Wait." Luckily, there are a few mellower moments that allow the band to explore its more experimental side. "Precious Pressure" is a gorgeous slice of laid-back Primal Scream-esque funk that interweaves languid beats and soulful melodies with Hendrix-style psychedelic guitar hooks; "Dream to Live" is a slightly sinister lullaby awash with creeping basslines, shimmering guitars, and hazy Jim Morrison-inspired vocals; while the title track is an effortlessly cool bluesy stoner rock anthem that sounds like it belongs on the Easy Rider soundtrack. Of course, King of the Waves is always going to come off second best when compared to the bands that inspired it, but the occasional filler aside, it's easily one of the more palatable retro homages that the current British indie scene seems so fond of.
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AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien