Jamie Barnes

The Fallen Acrobat

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AllMusic Review by

The Fallen Acrobat is a beautiful album of bedroom folk songs, closer in style and spirit to Christian Kiefer than any artist on Silber's regular roster. A very strong debut, it features Jamie Barnes multi-tracking vocals, acoustic guitar, toy piano, glockenspiel, flute, and field recordings in his bedroom. The instrumentation is charmingly naive, his lyrics generally meaningful and touching, and his melodies very catchy. Failed relationships provide the main topic for Barnes' lyrics, but he also touches on more socially conscious subjects ("Peaceful Protest," "Ambition Is Poisonous"), and dreamier ruminations ("A Ceiling Lit With Stars"). "Burning Leaves" stands out as the strongest song, beautifully arranged, moving, and filled with bits of surprising wisdom for a kid of that age. Other highlights include "Wait for Her" (a typical love triangle, but the harsher words are sung on such a delicate tone), a rendition of Rivulets' "Anyway..." (the closest to a pop song Barnes gets on this set), and "Unhappy," where the singer admits "I don't know much about dating / or interior decorating," which might explain the main topic of the album after all. Barnes' voice is warm, understated but precise, soft-spoken, simply perfect for this particular kind of intimate folk song. The Fallen Acrobat compensates for one hundred lousy bedroom albums you may have heard. And to think that it is only Barnes' first record fills the heart with hope.

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