Little Barrie

Stand Your Ground

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Little Barrie's Stand Your Ground falls into the trap so many sophomore albums do: sounding exactly the same as the first album. It falls short of We Are Little Barrie in every category -- songwriting, production, performance -- and ends up as a mild to complete disappointment. Most of the blame has to go to the production teams. Seven of the record's ten tracks were produced by Dan the Automator and he goes in for an ultra-clean, separated sound that drains all the excitement and color out of the songs. The remaining three songs were produced by Mike Pelanconi and the band, and sound just as lifeless and scrubbed clean of grit. Edwyn Collins' work on "We Are" was genius in comparison, giving the songs all sorts of extra sonic excitement and bringing in percussion and keyboards to widen the trio's scope. Thanks to his work quite a few songs sounded liable to jump out of the speakers; here the songs just lie flat. It doesn't help much that Barrie Cadogan's lyrics dip into clich├ęs and too many of the songs sound like half-formed jams. His guitar playing, which was one of the highlights of the debut, isn't as fresh sounding here, either. No doubt this is due to already being familiar with his style, but it also feels like he's missing the spark that made his playing of "We Are" so hot and nasty. They also miss departed drummer Wayne Fullwood. Neither ringer Russell Simins nor new drummer Billy Skinner has the same swing and punch he did. Despite the general disappointments of Stand Your Ground, there are a few songs that stand out: the fairly rollicking "Green Eyed Soul," the low-key and soulful ballad "Yeah We Know You," and the lengthy album closer "Pay to Join," which has Cadogan finally attacking his guitar with some fire.

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